The typical career trajectory of Japanese film folk with international ambitions is to first succeed at home before venturing abroad. Ken Watanabe established himself as a movie star with the made-in-Japan hit “The Last Samurai” in 2003, and then went on to film “Inception” with Christopher Nolan in 2010.
Director Takeshi Fukunaga has taken the opposite path.
Born in Date, Hokkaido, in 1982, Fukunaga left Japan for the United States in 2003. After studying filmmaking at Brooklyn College from 2005 to 2007, he made his first feature, “Out of My Hand.” Premiering at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, the film traced the journey of a Liberian rubber plantation worker who tries to forge a new life in New York but learns that his dark past has followed him. Fukunaga went to Liberia to research and shoot, and later screened the film there to enthusiastic local audiences.