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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.
For Giovanni Fazio's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
CULTURE / Film
Jan 19, 2001
Pleasure, pain and Arizona
January is an absolutely dire month for films, and this year's lingering holiday blockbuster constipation is even worse than usual. The pickings are slim, but you could try "Phatman: Theory of the Leisure Class," which is a rare film indeed -- an American indie flick that is opening in Japan but not the States. It's easy to see why: It's never clear whether this whacked-out view of hicksville Arizona is parody or tragedy.
CULTURE / Film
Jan 12, 2001
Curry on my wayward sons
Culture clash comedy is a shtick often brought to the big screen, but its success depends heavily on the details. For "East Is East," the particulars lie in the U.K.-Asian community of Manchester,circa 1971. Focusing on first-generation Pakistani immigrant George Khan, his British wife Ella and their seven offspring, "East Is East" feeds on the ironies of assimilation.
CULTURE / Film
Jan 5, 2001
A film genius in his own mind
Harmony Korine -- screenwriter of "Kids," director of "Gummo" -- fancies himself the enfant terrible of contemporary cinema. Well, he is . . . terrible. Certain critics have been calling him "the new Godard," and I'd agreewith that too. But when was the last time Godard made anything that played better on the screen than in theory?
CULTURE / Film
Nov 19, 1999
Should auld new wavers be forgot
A film that zeroes in on the forced enthusiasm of New Year's Eve celebrations, "200 Cigarettes" will certainly appeal to those who are already tiring of this year's millennial madness. As one cynic in the film puts it, "Every year it's the same desperate scrambling around, pretending to be happy."
CULTURE / Film
Jul 6, 1999
Going for more than two dimensions
While most films out there these days prostrate themselves before the altar of entertainment, there are still a few that dare to set different goals. "Under the Skin," the debut feature by U.K. director Carine Adler, is one such work, a cathartic rhapsody of sex and grief that is based in messy reality, and demands reflection on the part of the viewer.
CULTURE / Film
Jun 25, 1999
Lost opportunity of the disco daze
If there were ever a high-water mark of hedonism, it would have to have been located at some New York or L.A. disco in the late '70s. In this pre-AIDS, post-Pill era of guilt-free sex, drug use was widespread and largely tolerated, gay culture was coming out of the closet and sexual mores were loosening up to include all sorts of delicious possibilities, most of which seemed at the time like good ideas. The discos were ground zero of this explosion of debauchery, their intoxicating sound and sweaty flesh both absorbing and increasing these new appetites.
CULTURE / Film
Jun 4, 1999
Somewhere over the airwaves
Once upon a time, back in the '50s, there existed a "better" America, a wholesome utopia of crew cuts, unquestioning white-bread conformity and mom in the kitchen baking apple pies.

Longform

Later this month, author Shogo Imamura will open Honmaru, a bookstore that allows other businesses to rent its shelves. It's part of a wave of ideas Japanese booksellers are trying to compete with online spaces.
The story isn't over for Japan's bookstores