Surefire formulas failed Japanese cinema in 2017

Film Dec 20, 2017

Surefire formulas failed Japanese cinema in 2017

by Mark Schilling

In a quarter-century of reporting on the Japanese film industry, I've yet to find one optimist about its future. I used to regularly hear laments from veteran filmmakers and executives who remembered the industry's 1950s glory days, when admissions exceeded 1 billion annually and the ...

Fukada's filmmaking a breath of fresh air

Film | Wide Angle Mar 10, 2017

Fukada's filmmaking a breath of fresh air

by Mark Schilling

Koji Fukada's black comedy "Hospitalite" ("Kantai") won best film in the Tokyo International Film Festival's Japanese Eyes section in 2010 and since then he has become accustomed to stepping up on stages to receive prizes for his work. Fukada is part of a new generation ...

Kanji Furutachi: Reacting to Japan's film industry

Film Feb 22, 2017

Kanji Furutachi: Reacting to Japan's film industry

by Mark Schilling

Over the years I've heard many complaints about the bad acting in Japanese films, from the hammy emoting of over-indulged veterans to the amateurish turns of "idols" cast more for their agency connections than any perceptible talent. I've added to this chorus of negativity, ...

'Harmonium': Dangerously good family drama

Film / Reviews Sep 28, 2016

'Harmonium': Dangerously good family drama

by Mark Schilling

The films of Koji Fukada have long wrapped ambitious themes in deceptively unassuming genre packages. His 2011 international breakout "Hospitalite" ("Kantai") begins as a quirky comedy but becomes a sharp-edged drama of deceptions and secrets. Last year's "Sayonara" starts as an offbeat essay in ...

Girls take charge of their love lives in 'Chigasaki Story'

Film / Reviews Sep 16, 2015

Girls take charge of their love lives in 'Chigasaki Story'

by Mark Schilling

Koji Fukada's 2013 beach film "Hotori no Sakuko" ("Au Revoir l'Ete") was a loving homage to French master Eric Rohmer, with lengthy European-style vacations bestowed on Fukada's Japanese protagonists. The film's production company, Wa Entertainment, has now made another Rohmer-esque ensemble drama, "San-paku Yokka Go-ji ...

Fukada's young castaways on adulthood's shores

Film Jan 9, 2014

Fukada's young castaways on adulthood's shores

by Mark Schilling

Born in Tokyo in 1980, Koji Fukada released his first film in 2004, but his breakthrough was 2010's "Kantai (Hospitalité)," a witty black comedy about a mysterious stranger who talks his way into a job at a small Tokyo printing shop and is soon ...

TIFF is your chance to catch up with Japanese film

Film Oct 10, 2013

TIFF is your chance to catch up with Japanese film

by Mark Schilling

The Tokyo International Film Festival, now in its 26th edition, has had its share of detractors, dissing it for everything from competition lineups of major festival castoffs (no longer true since TIFF stopped insisting on world premieres) to a Special Screening section that is ...