Shunji Iwai has long stood on ambivalent terrain. To Western audiences he’s known as a prolific and brilliant auteur, but without the overseas cachet of others such as Takeshi Kitano. To his fans in Japan, he’s viewed as the spokesman for the socially conscious hipster — the one director who manages to romanticize the general boredom and mild claustrophobia felt by Japanese youths, without resorting to splashy violence and sex.

His latest film, “A Bride for Rip Van Winkle” (“Rip Van Winkle no Hanayome”) can be described as classic Iwai — full of gorgeous visual imagery depicting a story of the dark side of married life and how money is often a defining factor of social rituals and (supposed) love relationships.

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