Nearly two decades after the Japanese New Wave of the 1990s, the directors who led it, including Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Hirokazu Koreeda and Naomi Kawase, are still the local industry's most prominent faces abroad. But this year a new generation of filmmakers has finally started to make itself heard, with 36-year-old Koji Fukada winning the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes for "Harmonium" ("Fuchi ni Tatsu") and 43-year-old Makoto Shinkai obliterating the box-office competition with his animation "Kimi no Na wa." ("Your Name."). Both generations found themselves on my best 10 list for 2016.
10 In This Corner of the World (Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni):
Sunao Katabuchi's animation about a young woman's life in prewar Hiroshima and wartime Kure has the "We will struggle though to victory" message of a Keisuke Kinoshita World War II propaganda film. But just as Kinoshita truly depicted the human realities of his characters, so do Katabuchi and his animators, from the heroine's anguish and terror to her desperate longing for peace.