'Ishibumi': Tragic history set in stone

Jul 13, 2016

'Ishibumi': Tragic history set in stone

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An annual ritual on Japanese television on or around Aug. 6 is a number of special programs about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Truth be told, after many years in this country I tune out more than I tune in. Just as ...

Koreeda discusses before and 'After the Storm'

May 18, 2016

Koreeda discusses before and 'After the Storm'

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I’ve interviewed the director Hirokazu Koreeda several times over the years since we first met at a preview screening of his otherworldly drama “After Life” (“Wonderful Life,” 1999). Then and now his answers to even often-asked questions are always thoughtful and considered. Yes, he ...

Top 10 films of 2015: War, slackers and a love hotel

Dec 23, 2015

Top 10 films of 2015: War, slackers and a love hotel

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It’s hard to be an optimist about the present state of Japanese cinema. One reason is the decline of the mid-budget film, previously the refuge of much quality work, with many talented directors going either fully commercial or extremely indie. Micro-budget films are not ...

Push for balance can lead to a skewed view

| Dec 5, 2015

Push for balance can lead to a skewed view

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In September, public broadcaster NHK aired a documentary that recounted the news events from the capital this summer. One of the segments focused on the continuing protests led by college students in central Tokyo against the controversial security bills the ruling Liberal Democratic Party had ...

Hirokazu Koreeda on his new drama about women with 'shadows'

Jun 17, 2015

Hirokazu Koreeda on his new drama about women with 'shadows'

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When Hirokazu Koreeda’s gently offbeat family drama “Umimachi Diary” (“Our Little Sister”) was screened in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, both audiences and the media were enthusiastic — a story for the Reuters news agency described it as “Palme d’Or material.” But ...

Money, censorship and the future of Asian cinema

Nov 7, 2013

Money, censorship and the future of Asian cinema

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Flitting around Roppongi Hills during the week of the Tokyo International Film Festival, you get to meet and chat with any number of interesting people, but one of the better conversations I had was sitting down for coffee with Jacob Wong, curator of the ...

Koreeda's film wins jury prize at Cannes festival

May 28, 2013

Koreeda's film wins jury prize at Cannes festival

“Like Father, Like Son,” directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, received the Prix du Jury at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival on Sunday. It was the first Japanese film to receive an award in the competition division since Naomi Kawase’s “The Mourning Forest,” which won ...