Masato Harada, who once directed Hollywood-style entertainments such as 1989’s sci-fi actioner “Ganheddo (Gunhed)” and the America-set 1993 road movie “Painted Desert,” has since made a specialty of dramas about Japanese men at work. Based on true events and packed with incident, they made life in a large Japanese organization look rather swashbuckling and macho. Examples include “Jubaku: Spellbound” (1999), whose subject was big-league corporate corruption, “The Choice of Hercules” (2002), in which hordes of police faced off against a small band of radicals, and “The Climbers High” (2008), a thriller about a provincial newspaper’s pursuit of a big disaster story.
So I was somewhat surprised to hear that Harada had directed “Waga Haha no Ki (Chronicle of My Mother),” a family drama based on novelist Yasushi Inoue’s 1977 memoir of his troubled relationship with his mom. But the film, despite Harada’s shout outs to the work of ho￣mu dorama (“home drama”) master Yasujiro Ozu, carries the DNA of his earlier films, including their celebrations of the traditional male ethos.