Getting the Japanese to talk about their emotions is said to be like pulling teeth, but getting depressed Japanese to bare their souls is like unlocking the mysteries of quantum physics. And yet in the documentary “Does Your Soul Have a Cold?,” “Thumbsucker” director Mike Mills does just that. A cinematic equivalent of a sympathetic family doctor, the film certainly knows how to listen to its subjects. Really listen, without being intrusive or making hasty diagnoses.
And why would an American filmmaker be interested in making a documentary about depressed Japanese people? After all, aren’t there more than enough samplings to pick and choose from in the U.S., a culture that thrives on over-the-counter antidepressants?