All posts tagged: Music/Dance

Nishikawa-Fumie-Feature-Image

The Adventuress Spirit

The poster for Nishikawa Fumie’s The Azemichi Road depicts a young girl in school uniform captured ecstatically jumping mid-air on a country dirt road. It’s a pastoral image processed to resemble a painting that invites the viewer to speculate the story within. Though a poster is no means representative of the movie itself, in this case, the image does give insight into the Tokyo native. Nishikawa loved to draw manga and write stories in elementary school. She was studying to pursue that path when her eyes were opened to the wonder of movies during high school. Her ambition shifted from illustrating a picture to telling the story within it; to bring that image to life. It’s a fundamental component of her craft apparent in her graduate thesis at London College of Communication where she went after high school to study film & video production. Nishikawa wrote, shot, and produced While You Sleep. With its evocative title and simple premise of a teen awakening to family realities when her mother falls into a deep coma, the …

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 …

Illuminations-Main-Still

Illuminations

Hasegawa Yokna, director of the engagingly artistic take on the dystopian future, Dual City, shot Illuminations in 2014 which, according to the filmmaker’s official site, is the first chapter of the “Japanese Year Zero Trilogy”–Dual City being the second. Though Dual City captured the lion’s share of international attention and overshadowing its series predecessor, interest is training toward Illuminations as its quite intriguing story perhaps was at the vanguard of a steadily growing number of narratives and filmmakers concerned with Japan’s place in the world as a “peaceful nation.” In 2020 Japan is divided into North and South. Northern Japan became the area of conflict. Although in Southern Japan they still preserve peace, it is slowly changing into a threatening situation day by day. 18-year-old Southerner Yousuke, who lost his childhood friend Kurata as a deserter to the Northern War, spends his days in emptiness. One day he meets Kikuchi in a game center and gets to know the drug ‘Illuminations’, which has the effect of time travel and is popular among kids.Kikuchi invites him …