All posts tagged: Comedy

Eye-On-Amiko

Amiko

Rebellious teens and social rebelliousness have been and are an oft used theme in movies though some of the most memorable works were products of the social unrest of the 60s and 70s, both abroad and in Japan. While a fair degree of such movies are still offered by the independent scene abroad, much of the spirited filmmaking pioneered by such filmmakers as Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Sono Sion, Tsukamoto Shinya, and Ishii Sogo in the late 70s and 80s has all but vanished in Japan. So, when a movie that recaptures much of the feel of those bygone days emerges, not just stylistically but in terms of its content, people take notice. That the director of this movie is a 20-year-old young woman, the youngest ever to participate in the Forum Section of the Berlin International Film Festival, is further cause for excitement. Amiko is the story of a high school girl in a small provincial town who is absolutely convinced the Japanese have lost any sense of spontaneity. But a long conversation with Aomi, a …

Eye-On-Eriko-Pretended

Eriko, Pretended

Millennials and the possible Japanese counterpart “Yutori Generation” [used describe a children brought up and educated in a non-pressure system in response to the stress and overburden placed on them to achieve] have been oft maligned by their elders for poor work attitudes, a sense of entitlement, and a narcissistic streak. Whoever is to blame and the solutions which are needed are a discussion for some other blog, but key to both is how said generation views itself and filmmakers in their 20s are beginning to take a look at who they are and where they are going. Eriko, Pretended from writer/director Fujimura Akiyo a graduate of Meiji Gakuin University and the New Cinema Workshop film school, looks to be a standout entry in this sphere primarily for its set up and development. Ten years ago, Eriko left her provincial town and headed for Tokyo in pursuit of her dream of being an actress, though has nothing to show for it except a bit part in a commercial beneath a rabbit costume. Nevertheless, she tells …

Daisuke-Miyazaki-Profile

Entertainer with a Cause

Yokohama born Miyazaki Daisuke posseses a pensive quality not readily evident in his relaxed gaze and mild-mannered smile. Make no mistake, however, inside burns a well stoked fire for incisively entertaining stories. A graduate of Waseda University, Miyazake attended a 2004 film school administered by New York University in Japan. The resulting thesis short, The 10th Room, garnered the program’s grand prize, certainly no fluke for the Political Science and Economics major. From there, he was a production design assistant on Leo Carax’s Merde and an assistant director for Kurosawa Kiyoshi. He made a few more shorts before teaming with Tokyo Sonata cinematographer, Ashizawa Akiko, in 2010 for his first feature-length movie, End of the Night. The stylish hitman tale feels like something out of cinema’s heyday of the 70s and 80s. Though its noir-ish tone, wry humor, and topicality seem outwardly “foreign,” its soul is distinctively Japanese and perhaps a completely original type of noir. Moreover, it is a wonderful showcase of the kind of savvy low-budget filmmaking that would have made Roger Corman …