NORIKO SMILING, by Adam Mars-Jones. Notting Hill Editions, 2011, 239 pp., £12.00 (hardcover).

“I can hardly be accused of being an expert on Japanese film,” Adam Mars-Jones assures us early in “Noriko Smiling,” his monograph on Yasujiro Ozu’s “Late Spring.” Such protestations at the beginning of a work are not, in an age that distrusts expertise and celebrates ignorance, unusual. In most cases, though, a writer who makes this move goes on to demonstrate, however obliquely, that he or she is not, in fact, ignorant at all. Mars-Jones takes a different approach.

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