A Welshman who moved to Nagoya in 1988 and has been based in Japan ever since, John Williams is the rare foreigner who has worked in the Japanese film industry in not only the usual facilitator roles, as line producer and translator, but has also directed his own well-regarded films here. His first Japanese-language feature, 2001’s “Ichiban Utsukushi Natsu (Firefly Dreams),” earned him a Best New Director nomination from the Directors Guild of Japan, while winning him accolades abroad.
His latest, “Sado Tenpesuto (Sado Tempest),” which combines the title Shakespearian play with punk rock and noh theater, had an unusual gestation and difficult birth. Invited to Sado, a rugged island in the Japan Sea famous for its celebrity exiles (including Emperor Juntoku [1197-1242] and noh dramatist Zeami Motokiyo [1363-1443]), Williams was flummoxed when a member of the local film commission asked him to shoot footage of an endangered bird. “I was like, ‘No, not really,’ ” Williams says with a laugh.
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