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The Japanese women directors who have been gaining attention in the past two decades, beginning with frequent Cannes invitee Naomi Kawase, tend to be serious types, understandably. Their struggle for respect and recognition in a male-dominated industry is difficult enough — and goofy comedies are usually not going to make it easier.

Yuki Tanada is one such director. “I’m always serious about my work,” she tells me in a recent interview about her new film “My Dad and Mr. Ito” (“Otosan to Ito-san”).

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