Plenty of Japanese directors make films about socially awkward or marginal guys: Given all the on-screen examples (as well as their many real-life inspirations), it seems that the onetime country of the samurai has become the land of the otaku and freeter (unemployed or underemployed), clasping to emotional childhood and/or the economic bottom rungs.
Shuichi Okita has also focused on nonmainstream men in his three features to date: the perfectionist Antarctic base-camp cook of 2009’s “Nankyoku Ryorinin (The Chef of South Polar),” the nervous tyro film director of 2011’s “Kitsutsuki to Ame (The Woodsman and the Rain)” and the eponymous hick hero of his latest, “Yokomichi Yonosuke (A Story of Yonosuke).” Okita may have his gentle if comically pointed fun with them, but ultimately he is more interested in their not-immediately-obvious strengths.
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