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Mark Schilling

For Mark Schilling's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

'Nekoatsume House': The cat's meow of Japanese comedy

/ Mar 29, 2017

'Nekoatsume House': The cat's meow of Japanese comedy

Japanese audiences never seem to tire of movies about dogs and cats. The millions of devoted pet owners here are certainly one reason, though the Brits, also known for their animal worship, do not express it as often in films. Masatoshi Kurakata's delightful, blood-pressure-lowering "Nekoatsume ...

Shinobu Yaguchi can make sparks fly, even off the grid

Mar 22, 2017

Shinobu Yaguchi can make sparks fly, even off the grid

When I met Shinobu Yaguchi at a Chicago sushi restaurant on March 1, I made my usual mistake with well-known directors: mention that I had interviewed him before. He, understandably, blanked, since the interview was 20 years ago for his 1997 indie comedy "My ...

Marty Gross and 'The Lovers' Exile'

| Mar 22, 2017

Marty Gross and 'The Lovers' Exile'

At various times and places in his four-decade career, Canadian native Marty Gross has been a potter, art teacher, film director and a producer, with most of his personal and professional roads leading back to Japan. On March 24, Gross will present an English-subtitled screening ...

'Slavemen': Men enslaved by juvenile fantasies

/ Mar 15, 2017

'Slavemen': Men enslaved by juvenile fantasies

Noboru Iguchi would seem to be in the enviable position, at least to his mostly male fan base, of doing exactly what he likes and never having to grow up. A veteran director of low-budget exploitation films, Iguchi has an unabashedly adolescent obsession with ...

Fukada's filmmaking a breath of fresh air

| Mar 10, 2017

Fukada's filmmaking a breath of fresh air

Koji Fukada's black comedy "Hospitalite" ("Kantai") won best film in the Tokyo International Film Festival's Japanese Eyes section in 2010 and since then he has become accustomed to stepping up on stages to receive prizes for his work. Fukada is part of a new generation ...

'Bring on the Melody': The heroic way to strike up the band

/ Mar 8, 2017

'Bring on the Melody': The heroic way to strike up the band

Zero-to-hero movies, usually about athletes or musicians or other folks engaged in something competitive and cinematic (baseball, yes; darts, no), are a staple of the film business in Japan. One reason: Audiences here admire gaman — the perseverance the protagonists display in pursuit of ...

'Snow Woman': chillingly modern

/ Mar 1, 2017

'Snow Woman': chillingly modern

The Japanese folklore story of the "Snow Woman" has been told in many places, in many ways, and in many versions, but best-known is that of Lafcadio Hearn, the Greek-Irish writer who published it in his 1904 collection, "Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange ...

Kanji Furutachi: Reacting to Japan's film industry

Feb 22, 2017

Kanji Furutachi: Reacting to Japan's film industry

Over the years I've heard many complaints about the bad acting in Japanese films, from the hammy emoting of over-indulged veterans to the amateurish turns of "idols" cast more for their agency connections than any perceptible talent. I've added to this chorus of negativity, ...

Asian Film Festival unspools in Osaka

| Feb 22, 2017

Asian Film Festival unspools in Osaka

Why go to Osaka to see films? I may sound like an insufferable Tokyo snob asking this, but given all the hundreds of movies on offer in the nation's capital, it's worth answering to justify the shinkansen ticket. One excellent reason to go is the ...