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 ...

Kat-tun star's knack for reinvention aids film role

May 17, 2013

Kat-tun star's knack for reinvention aids film role

by Mark Schilling

Director Satoshi Miki’s new comedy “Ore Ore (It’s Me, it’s Me)” is more on the cultish than the commercial end of the scale, with its head-scratcher of a story about a first-time scammer who starts encountering various versions of himself in a bizarre new ...

Yoshida's ode to a distant Okinawan island

May 3, 2013

Yoshida's ode to a distant Okinawan island

by Mark Schilling

Many directors hit everything from the books to the streets in preparation for their next film, but for his second feature, “Tabidachi no Shima Uta — Jugo no Haru (Leaving on the 15th Spring),” Yasuhiro Yoshida went far further than most.