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In his three films to date, Hirobumi Watanabe has created a unique cinematic world. “And the Mud Ship Sails Away” (2013), “7 Days” (2015) and now “Poolsideman” (2016) were all shot in black-and-white in Watanabe’s native Tochigi Prefecture, with music by younger brother Yuji and cinematography by Woohyun Bang. All focus on socially marginalized men with lives that range from the aimless to the mundane. And all are tinged with black humor that keeps the proceedings from becoming too brain-numbingly minimalistic.

Echoes of other filmmakers can be heard, notably Jim Jarmusch and Bela Tarr, but Watanabe marches to his own drum, as Yuji’s soundtrack provides counterpoint with everything from classical war horses to sinister electronic noise, while becoming more intense — not intrusive — as the story progresses. Bang’s tightly composed images, at once gorgeous and stark, add another layer of commentary.

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