Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

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HungFist
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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 03 May 2012, 04:12

HungFist wrote:
HungFist wrote: About the Pink Sky (ももいろそらを) (2011)
Director: Keiichi Kobayashi

"A high school girl finds a money-laden wallet and tracks down its owner, with unexpected consequences. Its monochrome images create a naturalistic portrait of her emotional state."

The trailer sounds awful but looks absolutely gorgeous.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5Aj1Nc6_TA
- http://2011.tiff-jp.net/en/lineup/works.php?id=156

Review:

"...the perfect cliché of a boring (japanese) independent film, trying to be meaningful without expressing anything, nor telling a proper story with characters. Why bother telling something when vagueness allows the audience to imagine their own film.

-http://wildgrounds.com/2012/04/24/thoug ... -pink-sky/

Sounds quite promising, actually.
Another review:

Surely, “About the Pink Sky” is an unusual coming-of-age film that will likely throw off some viewers with its lack of conventional dramatic structure or emphatic plot points. Yet the drifting approach to story, aesthetic beauty and admirable performances all add compelling degrees of realism and poetry to this wonderfully idiosyncratic effort.

- http://www.jfilmpowwow.blogspot.jp/2012 ... -pink.html

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Re: Random Japanese movie news

Unread post by HungFist » 12 May 2012, 06:39

Tenshi tsukinuke rokuchoume (aka Tentsuki) (2011)

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Shinsendai description:

The Shinsedai Cinema Festival is very proud to announce our 2012 closing night film - Masafumi Yamada's surreal, haunting and darkly humorous Tentuski. Directed by genre filmmaker Masafumi Yamada (Hide and Go Kill 2) Tentuski takes us off the map and into a corner of Japan's old capital of Kyoto where anything can happen.

Noboru (Taku Manabe) is running for his life from a pair of yakuza loan sharks. He ends up hiding out in a rundown rooming house in a mysterious area of Kyoto not listed on the city maps. It's here, and at his new job as a security guard on a construction site, that he encounters a cast of unusual characters: a fellow security guard who is obsessed by a supernatural fossil, an aging widow on the edge of sanity, and a beautiful alcoholic woman named Miyuki (Natsumi Seto) who is convinced that she is growing a wing on her back. Will Noboru be able to stay hidden or will his new found infatuation with Miyuki prove more dangerous than the thugs who are hunting him?

Reminiscent of the quirky dream logic of the films of David Lynch and Takashi Miike's Gozu, Tentsuki will take Toronto audiences down the dark corridors and back alleys of love, lust, murder and magical transformation.

- http://shinsedai.ca/latest-news/65-shin ... s-tentsuki

Review:
http://pageofmadness.wordpress.com/2011 ... rokuchome/

Site:
http://tentsuki6.jp/

More:
http://www.cinematoday.jp/movie/T0011665
http://youtu.be/GX9s_X-4gyo

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 13 May 2012, 06:24

Live Tape (2009)

Tetsuaki Matsue’s one take wonder proves "all it takes to make a movie is a singer, a guitar, and sunglasses". Shot with a single 72 minute take, Matsue follows musician Kenta Maeno as he wanders the streets of Tokyo on a new year’s day and performs music. From an brilliant opening to good music and bits & pieces of something real captured on camera it’s an inspiring film that deservedly made it to almost every J-Film top-10 list of 2009 and 2010. Followed by an even more interesting Tokyo Drifter, which throws Matsue and Maeno on the streets of the post-Fukushima Tokyo, in 2011.

R2J
Two disc release (w/o subs of course) by TipTop. Extras include audio commentary by Maeno and the staff, rough version of the film with camera mic sound, an hour long documentary, and trailers for Live Tape and Tokyo Drifter. 26 page booklet is also included.

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 31 May 2012, 16:13

Ninifuni looks totally great!

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From Tetsuya Mariko, the director of Yellow Kid. With Momoclo!!!

Trailer at the official site:
http://ninifuni.net/

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 23 Jun 2012, 05:02

Audrey (オードリー) and See You dvds announced for 2012/09/21
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=842365
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=842386

These two have been / are playing recently in K's Cinema in Tokyo. They're not quite a double feature, but shared the same marketing campaign and screening venue.

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Hiroki's River also coming to dvd the same day
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=842402

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 04 Jul 2012, 13:46

Virgin R2J coming 2012/08/03
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=845248

Omnibus film directed by Rikiya Imaizumi, Takuya Fukushima and Koki Yoshida. More info:
- http://www.nipponcinema.com/trailers/virgin-trailer

trailer:
- http://youtu.be/PDoxb9I7-lo

blog:
- http://ameblo.jp/2012virgin/entry-11199655070.html

Good news, I had to skip this one last month when I was in Tokyo in favor of Utopia Sounds (which did not live up to the great trailer)

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 08 Jul 2012, 11:15

finally found time to type a couple of reviews...

Tokyo Drifter (2011)
"Another superb Tokyo film by Matsue & Maeno"
- http://sketchesofcinema.wordpress.com/2 ... o-drifter/

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Let’s Make the Teacher Have a Miscarriage Club (Sensei wo ryûzan saseru-kai) (2011)
"Little devils in an effective exploitation drama"
- http://sketchesofcinema.wordpress.com/2 ... iage-club/

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(screencaps from youtube trailers)

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 25 Jul 2012, 13:34


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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 28 Jul 2012, 12:32

Cycling Chronicles (2004)
Political/pink/radical director Koji Wakamatsu’s fascinating, existential road movie. A young man, allegedly a murder suspect on the run, rides through the brutal cold winder of Japan on his bicycle. No plot turns or action scenes, but ice, snow, freezing cold sea and endless small roads. The floating landscapes are only interrupted by occasional political monologues about Japan’s war history. Effective Kazuki Tomokawa soundtrack accompanies – viewers who have seen Takashi Miike’s Izo know what to expect from this “screaming philosopher” of “psychedelic country rock”. Rough on the edges, openly political in places, and often brilliantly beautiful movie.

Caps from R2J. It's been over 4 months since I viewed it (and I've been trying to write film review ever since, but the capsule above is the best I can do) and no longer remember if there were extras other than trailer (and I left the disc on the wrong continent). Sorry. Shouldn't matter anyway, it's not like anyone is ever going to release the film again, except maybe the French but I doubt.

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by logboy » 29 Jul 2012, 07:50

HungFist wrote: Omnibus film directed by Rikiya Imaizumi, Takuya Fukushima and Koki Yoshida. More info:
- http://www.nipponcinema.com/trailers/virgin-trailer

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details for the international titles / translations for 'virgin';

http://www.getafilms.com/geta/data/v/Virgin/Virgin.html

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 05 Aug 2012, 03:39

HungFist wrote: Let’s Make the Teacher Have a Miscarriage Club (Sensei wo ryûzan saseru-kai) (2011)
"Little devils in an effective exploitation drama"
- http://sketchesofcinema.wordpress.com/2 ... iage-club/
JP BD (and DVD) by King Records announced for 2012/10/10.

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- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=846946

Trailer and stage greeting listed as extras.

As my review states, the film comes recommended with obvious reservations. For what it is - an effective "drama" with "social commentary", much in the same sense as Rambo 4 - it's a good ride for reasons both intended and not.

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 07 Aug 2012, 04:03

Trailer for Yuki Tanada's Fugainai boku wa sora wo mita (ふがいない僕は空を見た)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahfPZMCpCFA

via logboy

Doesn't look quite that interesting to me, except for featuring Hiroshi Yamamoto in a supporting role and being surprisingly rated R-18. I still haven't seen the highly praised Moon & Cherry, but One Million Yen Girl was quite disappointing in its conventionalism... I was under the impression you could expect something more (original) from Tanada.

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by logboy » 07 Aug 2012, 06:59

... interests me because I seem to react to the directors approach even if it isn't always as successful as I'd like it to be. jut one of those odd appreciations I have that I can't necessarily say is logical, but that's the way it is, sometimes. infanct, it might be a case that I have a clearer sense of some directors than others because they've stuck in my memory more, & many others would be like that if I could remember more names rather than relying upon checking a vaguely familiar name for their
past work. just too many films too.

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 06 Sep 2012, 13:56

Ninifuni R2J 2012/12/21

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Comes with trailer and making of.

I saw the film a few months ago. An interesting, though not entirely successful mix of minimalism and pop. Neither element comes out as good as you might wish, but it's still a worthy viewing for those interested in new Japanese indie cinema. I'll see if I manage to translate my review some day.

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 15 Oct 2012, 04:44

Schilling review of Koi ni Itaru Yamai (The End of Puberty)
- http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ff20121012a2.html

Trailer
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6djdCr3tp0

Site:
- http://www.koiniitaruyamai.com/

As far as manga/anime style pop cinema goes, this looks at least a lot more promising than any Tetsuya Nakashima crap. Will check it out once it hits a theater close to me.

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 01 Dec 2012, 13:19

Tokyo Drifter R2J 2 Disc Collector's Edition 2013/1/23

Disc 1
- Film + Audio Commentary by Matsue and Maeno

Disc 2
- Making of (68 min)
- Interviews (17 min)
- Maeno Kenta x Analogue Fish Music Video (5 min)
- Trailer (2 min)

+ 48 page booklet

Some (all?) stores are also taking pre-orders for special pre-order -edition which comes with additional extras:
- Post Cards
- Special footage (or something... 前野健太撮影による秘蔵映像) (6 min)

More info
http://gake.shop-pro.jp/?pid=52188021

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 07 Dec 2012, 09:01

Monsters Club R2J 2013/03/02

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- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=863817

I've been a bit underwhelmed with both of Toyoda's 2012 films, but Monsters Club kinda left me wanting to see it again some day...

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 05 Jan 2013, 09:59

TWF's Adam Torrel's pick for the film of 2012: Ryohei Watanabe’s Shady (Kashkoi Inu wa Hoezuni Warau / かしこい狗は、吠えずに笑う). The trailer looks quite good indeed:

Two other films I'm looking forward to are Yutaka Tsuchiya GFP Bunny (Midnighteye's review and interview) and Nobuhiko Obayashi's Casting Blossoms to the Sky. The latter I skipped in cinema as I'm under the impression it's a very long, dialogue heavy film full of fine detail and was a little unsure if my Japanese was up to fully appreciating it.

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However, The Samurai That Night (Sono yoru no samurai) (trailer), praised by Don Brown, I didn't really like. Below is my capsule:

The Samurai That Night (Japan, 2012)
Actor and stage director Masaaki Akahori’s directorial debut is a long revenge drama lacking in revenge. The star studded but low key arthouse drama follows a widowed, obsessed man stalking the hit-and-run crook that killed his wife after the release from prison. Opting for strong realism, rather than fantastic revenge fantasy, the film has its moments but doesn’t eventually find very much depth. Little happens within its two hour running time, and some scenes come out “made-art” rather than natural storytelling. Characters feel distant, though Masato Sakai is not bad in the lead, and heart knob Takayuki Yamada makes a surprisingly believable killer.

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Still need to catch up with 2012 a little bit by seeing The Kirishima Thing (theatrical re-run after turning into a sleeper hit) and Koi ni itaru yamai (The End of Puberty) next week.

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 12 Jan 2013, 05:49

HungFist wrote:Schilling review of Koi ni Itaru Yamai (The End of Puberty)
- http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ff20121012a2.html

As far as manga/anime style pop cinema goes, this looks at least a lot more promising than any Tetsuya Nakashima crap. Will check it out once it hits a theater close to me.
Unfortunately I was wrong. Mini-review:

The End of Puberty (Koi ni itaru yamai, 2011)

Perky high school girl (Miwako Wagatsuma) and a shy teacher (Yôichirô Saitô) change genitals in Shoko Kimura’s dull fantasy/comedy/drama.

The PIA Film Festival financed indie film is visually pleasing enough, but lacks any memorable moments. Character development is non-existent, wacky ideas underutilized, and energy lacking. Audiences mislead by the catchy theatrical trailer are in for a disappointment.

Kimura seems to have something to say of a world where men have lost their balls and women are unable to take the lead – indeed, interviews have confirmed her conservative views – but the topic eventually leads nowhere.

Perhaps most interesting is the film’s soundtrack that plays like an old Nintendo game, but like the rest of the film, it remains a curiosity that never really catches fire. The film is a far cry from Nobuhiko Obayashi’s similarly themed 1982 classic Transfer Student.

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 12 Jan 2013, 06:53

More Iwai BD's from Pony Canyon! Coming 2013/03/20

Swallowtail Butterfly
Picnic
Undo
Vampire

I rented the Lily Chou Chou BD a while ago and while it's generally nice, I think the colors on the old R2J DVD were superior... the Norman's Nose dvd was pretty damn good to begin with, though.

Also Love Letter from King Records 2013/04/12
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=870405

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 15 Jan 2013, 09:49

Very glad to discover The Kirishima Thing is one of the best Japanese films of 2012!

The Kirishima Thing (Kirishima bukatsu yamerutteyo, 2012)

Japanese high school community turns upside down when one student unexpectedly quits the club. Daihachi Yoshida’s excellent film is one of the best Japanese movies of 2012. The film examines Japanese societal roles and hierarchy which almost no one is expected to escape. One student’s unexpected move triggers a chain reaction which touches half dozen main characters, some of whom are only loosely linked.

Though almost lacking any storyline, Yoshida pulls it off admirably with stylish filmmaking and strong cast. The film looks gorgeous on 35mm film – a format getting ever rarer in Japanese cinema these days. Yoshida has the patience to let scenes run long and often without music or loud acting getting in the way.

The film’s commentary on Japanese society, which despite appearing ever more individualist in global media, still builds on conservative structures, is spot on. A high class student’s sudden resignation from a club becomes a factor of anger, shame and frustration for his friends who cannot understand such behavior.

The recent news of an Osaka high school student who took his own life under the pressure and physical violence by his sports club, make the film even timelier. It comes as no big surprise the author of the source novel for Kirishima was also a student (of Waseda University in Tokyo) at the time of publication.

Yet, Yoshida’s films is eventually hopeful and not all that heavy. The small bits of storyline, secondary they may be, are pure mainstream cinema. The well acting cast is made of young and beautiful stars. It is the film’s major strength it brings the qualities of a good indie film into an easily approachable, wider appeal production.

The titular student Kirishima is the film’s driving factor, though no one has seen him, not even the viewer. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Yoshida’s focus is on other characters whose stories are cross-cut in a way that makes the somewhat episodic structure disappear. Unlike most “made-clever” films these days, The Kirishima Thing does not even attempt to tie all loose strings.

The movie theater encounter between Ai Hashimoto and film club leader Ryonosuke Kamiki serves as a romantic highlight. The film playing on the screen in Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo – The Iron Man (1989).

The film was not a major success upon its August 2012 release, but has slowly turned into a sleeper hit. 5 months after its initial release date, staff in a small Sapporo theater were carrying chairs into the theater to allow all viewers fit in.

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Screencaps from the trailer. JP BD coming next month.

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 15 Feb 2013, 10:21

Upcoming movies

Petal Dance
Hiroshi Ishikawa + Aoi Miyazaki + Sakura Ando. Plot summary suggest typical mainstream girl cinema fare, but the director is excellent, the visual look beautiful, and the two actresses among Japan's most talented. Trailer and info below:
- http://www.nipponcinema.com/trailers/petal-dance

Extend Hands from Darkness
A prostitute offering services to handicapped men. Trailer looks somewhat interesting, topic too, though there's always a risk of something pretentious with such a topic. Nippon Cinema stated lead girl Maya Koizumi is a gravure idol, which raises questions about her acting talent, plus suggest she would not go nude in front of cameras which would be idiotic beyond belief in a film which is (all?) about sex... Opens in Yubari, but I have not decided whether to watch it there yet...
- http://www.nipponcinema.com/trailers/ku ... -wo-nobase

JUKAI: Mount Fuji Suicide Forest
Another Yubari premiere which I'm not sure I want to see, because the topic is such an easy excuse for sentimental pretentiousness. But could be interesting just as well.
- http://www.nipponcinema.com/blog/impuls ... ovie-jukai

Schoolgirl Complex - Hōsōbu Hen
By Yuichi Onuma, whose Nude was an entertaining, non-judgemental look into the AV industry. And with slight visual poetry, too.
- http://www.nipponcinema.com/trailers/sc ... lex-teaser

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 20 Feb 2013, 04:25

Ishikawa BD's April 10, 2013.

Tokyo.Sora
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=874998

Su-ki-da
- http://www.allcinema.net/prog/show_dvd. ... sid=874999

No mention of subs so far, the old R2J dvds had them but those were by a different publisher.

edit: Tokyo.Sora and Sukida have English subs according to the product descriptions at amazon

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 01 Mar 2013, 06:06

HungFist wrote: Extend Hands from Darkness
A prostitute offering services to handicapped men. Trailer looks somewhat interesting, topic too, though there's always a risk of something pretentious with such a topic. Nippon Cinema stated lead girl Maya Koizumi is a gravure idol, which raises questions about her acting talent, plus suggest she would not go nude in front of cameras which would be idiotic beyond belief in a film which is (all?) about sex... Opens in Yubari, but I have not decided whether to watch it there yet...
- http://www.nipponcinema.com/trailers/ku ... -wo-nobase
I was supposed to see this in Yubari but didn't have time (cause I was hanging out with Yoshihiro Nishimura). However, the film won the competition series and received quite a bit of acclaim. Limited theatrical opening later this month. It's also known by the title "There is Light".

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Somewhat the same story with Sora kara kita tenkousei (literally "The Exhange Student who Came from Heaven). Skipped in favor of another screening, but the (short) film looks intriquing nevertheless. Theatrical release planned soon.
- http://www.itoh-c.com/sora/index.html

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Onaji hoshi no shita, sorezore no yoru (同じ星の下、それぞれの夜) looks interesting, too, apparently spoken in at least Japanese, English, and Chinese (like Iwai's masterpiece Swallowtail). Directed by Katsuya Tomita (Saudade), Tetsuya Mariko (Ninifuni), and Masanori Tominaga:
- http://www.onajihoshi.com/
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVeaG8IbEh4

(see the trailer, don't mind the ugly website)

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Re: Recent and not so recent Japanese dramas

Unread post by HungFist » 30 Mar 2013, 08:30

River (2011)

Ryuichi Hiroki references several recent tragedies with this indie drama. The film is set in the post 3/11 Japan, with a main character who lost her boyfriend in the 2008 Akihabara massacre. It is Hiroki’s return to less commercial cinema after a couple of mainstream efforts. However, Hiroki who is known for brutally beautiful urban character films isn’t at his best here. The cheap digital video does no favors to the cinematography, which already suffers from technical issues. Long tracking shots occasionally come at the cost of shaky handheld camerawork, reflection errors, and by passers staring into the camera. Character drama mostly functional, but lacks the naked honesty of Hiroki’s early 2000’s movies. The film's most memorable part is the ending which is set in the disaster struck areas. The sheer power of the images is devastating, but it's more due to the real life tragedy than Hiroki's filmmaking.

caps from the R2J:

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Trailer for a new Hiroki: Yellow Elephant:
http://www.kiiroizou.com/

I think it’s safe to say Hiroki is a lost talent. 10 years ago he was one of Japan’s most interesting filmmakers, delivering gorgeously shot but brutally honest character films such as L’amant (2004) and It’s Only Talk (2005). Of course, even back then there were also many lesser films like Love on Sunday or Girlfriend: Someone Please Stop the World, but even they featured some magnificent scenes that suggested Hiroki would be back at the top of his game with his next film.

Since then he’s been getting more and more mainstream, and the lesser films have become a rule more than an exception. Even though his recent attempts at rougher (Keibetsu) or less commercial (River) cinema have their moments (the post tsunami scenes in River, the Tokyo scenes in Keibetsu), they come out soft, lacking the bite and vision.

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