An interview with Nobuhiko Obayashi is like an interview with no one else, and I say that as someone who has done hundreds.

A pioneering experimental filmmaker in the 1960s who became an in-demand maker of TV commercials in the ’70s and, in partnership with maverick producer Haruki Kadokawa, a director of films starring popular female idols in the ’80s, Obayashi would seem to be a classic example of the movie wunderkind who goes commercial. But, dig deeper in his filmography, beginning with his 1977 feature debut — the wacky, wonderful horror-fantasy “House” — and you will find a fiercely independent type who took even work-for-hire assignments in directions distinctly his own.

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