Young, dead and dealing with the consequences

Dec 12, 2013

Young, dead and dealing with the consequences

by Mark Schilling

A veteran director of feature episodes in the classic “Ultraman” tokusatsu (special effects) series, Kazuya Konaka may not be the most obvious choice for a drama about teen suicide, but a look at his filmography, including 1998′s “Nazo no Tenkosei (The Dimension Travelers)” and ...

'Iconography of Yasujiro Ozu'

Dec 11, 2013

'Iconography of Yasujiro Ozu'

by Jordan Sievers

Yasujiro Ozu (1903-1963) is one of Japan’s most influential filmmakers, internationally renowned for his realistic and sensitive portrayals of relationships and family drama in Japan. In celebration of the 110th anniversary since his birth and the 50th anniversary of his death, this exhibition sheds ...

Yamashita and Maeda reunite for slacker dramedy

Nov 28, 2013

Yamashita and Maeda reunite for slacker dramedy

by Mark Schilling

Nobuhiro Yamashita has used a variety of sources for his films since his 1999 feature debut “Donten Seikatasu (Hazy Life),” including his own experiences as a struggling indie director. But the inspiration for his latest, “Moratorium Tamako (Tamako in Moratorium),” is out of the ...

'Kaguya-hime no Monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya)'

Nov 21, 2013

'Kaguya-hime no Monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya)'

by Mark Schilling

Isao Takahata has long been overshadowed by longtime colleague and Studio Ghibli cofounder Hayao Miyazaki. The younger man (Takahata is 78, Miyazaki 72) has had more and bigger hits, including his latest, the World War II-themed “Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises),” while Takahata’s last ...

Kobayashi film explores Japan's suicide problem

Sep 5, 2013

Kobayashi film explores Japan's suicide problem

by Mark Schilling

A folk-singer-turned-filmmaker who went to France in 1981 to apprentice under his idol François Truffaut, Masahiro Kobayashi may have failed in his quest (he couldn’t work up the courage to press Truffaut’s doorbell), but after returning to Japan became a prolific scriptwriter for pinku ...

When young creators answer the big city's siren call

Aug 15, 2013

When young creators answer the big city's siren call

by Mark Schilling

Veteran scriptwriter and director Toshiyuki Morioka had more than a professional interest in making his new film “Jokyo Monogatari.” Based on an autobiographical manga by Rieko Saibara, its story of an aspiring artist coming to Tokyo to learn her trade and make her fortune ...

Spirits linger in the trinkets of Hiroshima's dead

Jul 25, 2013

Spirits linger in the trinkets of Hiroshima's dead

by Kaori Shoji

They say most people have one or more defining childhood incidents — something that sets the course of their adult life and molds their personality. Filmmaker Linda Hoaglund had one, and it was so striking that to this day she can still remember the ...

Screen violence is in the eye of the beholder

Jun 7, 2013

Screen violence is in the eye of the beholder

by Mark Schilling

Some people avoid violent films, while others watch little else. Professional movie reviewers, who may see hundreds of films annually, cannot afford to be so picky. If you are covering the Cannes Film Festival competition, as I did one year for the Screen International ...