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 Giovanni Fazio

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Giovanni Fazio
Giovanni Fazio has been The Japan Times' resident film crank since 1993. When not at the movies, he is busy recording and playing live with his band Makyo and running the independent electronica label Dakini Records.
CULTURE / Film
Apr 25, 2001
Drugs, lies and policy debate
Traffic Rating: * * * * Director: Steven Soderbergh Running time: 148 minutes Language: English and Spanish (with subtitles in Japanese and English)Now showing It's rare enough that Hollywood makes an issue film, rarer still when it's an ongoing debate and not one where history has already decided...
CULTURE / Film
Apr 18, 2001
Europe goes Hollywood
Enemy at the Gates Rating: * * * 1/2 Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud Running time: 132 minutes Language: EnglishNow showing You could probably count on one hand the number of European directors with the budgets and grand vision to compete directly with Hollywood films. Somewhere between Luc Besson and...
CULTURE / Film
Apr 18, 2001
Hollywood goes indie . . .
The Mexican Rating: * * Director: Gore Verbinski Running time: 123 minutes Language: EnglishNow showing "Brad, meet Julia." And with that, the makers of "The Mexican" probably sat back smugly and started dreaming of box-office dominance. With casting like that, you could make a film called "Steaming...
CULTURE / Film
Apr 11, 2001
Heartbreak at its finest moment
In the Mood for Love Rating: * * * * 1/2 Director: Wang Kar-wai Running time: 98 minutes Language: CantoneseNow playing A man and a woman sit in a coffee shop, the table between them maintaining the proper distance. Neighbors in the same cramped apartment building, they have agreed to meet away...
CULTURE / Film
Apr 11, 2001
Wong for mature audiences
It's quite a feat when an art-house director like Wong Kar-wai can fill a room at the Park Hyatt with more media than, say, Anthony Hopkins for "Hannibal." But that's exactly what he did, accompanied by his two stars, Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, and it's testament to the director's successful mix of...
CULTURE / Film
Apr 4, 2001
Anyone for more gore?
Flashback to 1960.
CULTURE / Music / HIGH NOTES
Apr 4, 2001
Talvin Singh's "Ha"
As an accomplished tabla player, there's no doubting Talvin Singh's percussion skills, and as a producer he's clearly in command of the vocabulary of modern electronic dance music (as evidenced on his debut album "Calcutta Cyber Cafe"). The question is -- like with any session player-turned-solo artist...
CULTURE / Film
Mar 30, 2001
Howls of poets and poodles
Old beatniks may die, but it doesn't look like they'll fade away anytime soon. Nearly half a century since the Beat Generation's heyday, the artistic and philosophical legacy of the Beats remains a massive mother lode of countercultural inspiration. Chuck Workman's documentary "The Source" traces the...
CULTURE / Film
Mar 23, 2001
Ins and outs of postfeminist theory
Annabel Chong may not be a household name, but her claim to fame is quick and to the point: This porno actress grabbed a world record in 1995 by shagging 251 men in just under 10 hours.
CULTURE / Film
Mar 23, 2001
Grace vs. Annabel
After seeing her many public and private faces in the film, I was wondering whether I'd be interviewing Annabel Chong or Grace Quek. As it turned out, I think I got Grace, in a sexy but elegant little black dress, revealing thoughts about what she was doing and why.
CULTURE / Film
Mar 16, 2001
Cinnamon girls are forever
There have been a lot of odes to the '70s on film lately, but director Cameron Crowe ("Say Anything," "Jerry McGuire") certainly has a unique tale to tell. As a 15-year-old rock journalist for music magazines like Creem and Rolling Stone, Crowe spent his formative years in the mid-'70s on tour with stadium...
CULTURE / Film
Mar 9, 2001
Dirty, rotten, brilliant scoundrel
Woody Allen's films tend to be best when he manages to get beyond himself, which isn't often these days. But if there's one thing Woody loves more than a part in which he lands a younger leading lady, it's jazz. "Sweet and Lowdown," Allen's latest film, is a semifictional paean to guitarist Emmet Ray,...
CULTURE / Film
Mar 2, 2001
Dogmatic 'King Lear' stranded in the dunes
The Dogma '95 film movement, started by a group of Danish filmmakers, is a short-list of 10 rules known as the "vow of chastity" -- a pledge to eschew action, sets, props, soundtracks, lighting, stable camerawork, genre conventions and directorial credit. Like many a radical movement, it is entirely...
CULTURE / Film
Feb 23, 2001
Paradise lost, and regained
For me, "Forrest Gump" was easily one of the most annoying films of the '90s. It waded straight into some of the most turbulent events in recent American history and came back with absolutely nothing to say about them. Given this, it was hard to get excited about the reunion of the "Gump" creative combo,...
CULTURE / Film
Feb 20, 2001
He ain't heavy, he's Beat Takeshi. And he likes real handguns.
Turning out to promote "Brother" were director "Beat" Takeshi Kitano, stars Omar Epps and Claude Maki, and producers Masayuki Mori (of Office Kitano) and Jeremy Thomas, who has worked in the past with Nagisa Oshima and Bernardo Bertolucci. Filmed on two continents, "Brother" is easily Kitano's most ambitious...
CULTURE / Film
Feb 16, 2001
This one's for the record
Call me a vinyl junkie if you will, but I'm one of those guys who files his memories with his music. I could tell you what record I played over and over when my first girlfriend went off to college and stopped answering my letters ("Love Will Tear Us Apart Again," Joy Division, just released as a funereal...
CULTURE / Film
Feb 10, 2001
Suspense from fear of mundanity
Director M. Night Shyamalan couldn't make it to Tokyo since he and his wife have a newborn child to look after, but that didn't stop the enterprising PR people at Buena Vista from setting up a virtual press conference for "Unbreakable."
CULTURE / Film
Feb 9, 2001
There's something about Carrey
"Me, Myself & Irene," this season's most-hyped comedy, would seem to have a lot going for it: The Farrelly Brothers are following up on the mega-success of "There's Something About Mary," while Jim Carrey is returning to his crowd-pleasing antics after proving his range in "Man on the Moon" and "The...
CULTURE / Film
Feb 2, 2001
Johnny Rebels without a cause
When director Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" took off last year on its ascent to critical and commercial success, many film-goers in Japan were left scratching their heads: How did this director of small,family-based melodramas like "The Ice Storm" or "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman" suddenly make...
CULTURE / Film
Jan 26, 2001
From any angle, you've seen it before
They've got self-help books for just about every disorder you can think of out there, but I can think of one more niche that needs filling, namely, "Why Good Directors Make Bad Films." Chapter One: The Angle.

Longform

The Japanese government updated its English education guidelines in 2017 to emphasize communication over grammar and memorization. Public school teachers are incredibly busy, however, which means schools haven’t been able to implement changes uniformly. Private and alternative schools are attempting to remedy this.
The language of opportunity: Bilingual education is on the rise in Japan