Yoshiro Nakamura is a rare bird among Japanese directors today. Though he has worked at the top of the industry, where the TV networks and Toho rule, he has so far avoided making the usual Japanese commercial film based on a hit manga, game or TV drama.

Instead he prefers to find material that interests him — the novels of Kotaro Isaka have been a particularly fruitful source — and turn it into a film that often goes beyond its mystery or thriller story line to say something about the strangeness of reality or the connectedness of everything. That is, the sort of quasi-mystical/transcendental themes that mainstream films here strenuously avoid, though Nakamura’s treatment of them is anything but arty. His role model is not Andrei Tarkovsky or Robert Bresson, but M. Night Shyamalan of “The Sixth Sense” fame.

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