Kiyoshi Kurosawa is best known for films about ghosts and other types of strange phenomena that are capable of stirring foreboding feelings through mininal means such as curtains rustling ominously in the breeze or red duct tape stuck incongruously on doors.

His new film, "Before We Vanish," which premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at this year's Cannes film festival, is a first for the 62-year-old director in its sci-fi theme: Unseen aliens infect humans and use their hosts to recruit "guides" and gather gainen (concepts) about human thought and behavior to use in their upcoming invasion of Earth.

Also rare in the Kurosawa filmography is the light, comic tone of the opening scenes, with a newly infected alien host, played to spaced-out perfection by Ryuhei Matsuda, wandering a neighborhood like a dementia patient while his irascible wife (Masami Nagasawa) stews and rages.