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Yuki Tanada's new film sees the humor in societal changes

Sep 17, 2016

Yuki Tanada's new film sees the humor in societal changes

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The Japanese women directors who have been gaining attention in the past two decades, beginning with frequent Cannes invitee Naomi Kawase, tend to be serious types, understandably. Their struggle for respect and recognition in a male-dominated industry is difficult enough — and goofy comedies ...

Love beyond the laws of physics and nature

Sep 14, 2016

Love beyond the laws of physics and nature

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“Correspondence” (also known as “La Corrispondenza”) is the kind of romance the Japanese have traditionally loved to love — two people locked in a relationship that barely exists. In this scheme of things, physical remoteness offsets but strengthens an emotional connection. It’s a concept ...

'Someone's Xylophone': Yoichi Higashi hits an unusual tone

Sep 14, 2016

'Someone's Xylophone': Yoichi Higashi hits an unusual tone

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Yoichi Higashi has made everything from commercial hits to festival favorites in his five-plus decades as a director, while taking up politically sensitive subjects and unpopular issues. His 1992 smash “The Bridge with No River” (“Hashi no Nai Kawa”) depicted the raw prejudice endured ...

'The BFG': With an emphasis on the friendly

Sep 14, 2016

'The BFG': With an emphasis on the friendly

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The Japanese have never really warmed to the stories of Roald Dahl, with the exception of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Even then, they’re probably not thinking of Dahl, it’s more about Johnny Depp and the Wonka Chocolate bars sold at most high-end supermarkets ...

New film shows Beatlemania strain on Fab Four

Sep 9, 2016

New film shows Beatlemania strain on Fab Four

A new documentary about the Beatles shows the toll that Beatlemania took on them as they became “more popular than Jesus” at the height of their fame. “Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years” — the first authorized portrait of the Fab Four in ...

Actress Nanami weighs the pros and cons of going it alone

Sep 8, 2016

Actress Nanami weighs the pros and cons of going it alone

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It has been estimated that around 1 in 10 actors are working at any given moment. For the other nine, that can make for a constant hustle — a Woody Allen character once described the film industry as being “worse than dog-eat-dog, it’s dog-doesn’t-return-other-dogs-phone-calls.” ...

Kei Ishikawa's crime mystery explores social elites in Japan

Sep 8, 2016

Kei Ishikawa's crime mystery explores social elites in Japan

Japanese director Kei Ishikawa’s first feature film, “Gukoroku,” premiered at the Venice film festival on Tuesday, exploring the dynamics of social cliques through a crime mystery story. The movie, titled “Traces of Sin” in English, tells the story of an investigative reporter named Tanaka ...

The delicate notes of 'Someone's Xylophone'

Sep 7, 2016

The delicate notes of 'Someone's Xylophone'

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Japanese directors now routinely do dozens of media interviews to publicize their new films, especially if they are on the indie end of the spectrum. The stars of said films also sit down with the press, if not as commonly, but though I have ...