8 items from 2015
It was interesting to note the reaction, head bowed in a pained half-smile, of Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda when hit with his first Cannes press conference question this year: “Is this an homage to Ozu?” or at least something to that extent. In fairness, it’s probably a question the man is sick of hearing at this point, but in the case of Our Little Sister it’s not quite as wayward or as ignorant as one might think. Indeed, Koreeda acknowledges as much in response: admitting to revisiting some of the master’s work in preparation for the project, or perhaps simply in preparation for such questions. And he’s right: there are similarities, and more than enough to provoke such a question. The opening shots alone of a sleepy suburban neighborhood, houses split by an unseen railway line whose heavy clients must shake these small abodes to their foundations, »
- Nicholas Page
Sold by Wild Bunch, the Japanese family film is an adaptation of Akimi Yoshida’s popular serialized comic about four sisters living in the eponymous city. Cast is headlined by Masami Nagasawa, Haruka Ayase and Suzu Hirose. Kore-eda received a jury prize and an ecumenical prize at Cannes two years ago for “Like Father, Like Son,” and he was also in competition with “Nobody Knows” (2004) and “Distance” (2001). His 2009 film “Air Doll” premiered in Un Certain Regard.
- Ramin Setoodeh and Elsa Keslassy
Sisters Doing It For Themselves: Kore-eda’s Continued Examination of Polite Familial Discord
Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda returns with Our Little Sister (aka Umimachi Diary), another entry in his continued exploration of slightly strained familial connections. Only, the accent on his latest is on the ‘slight.’ An opening line to a famous piece of literature asserts that all happy families are the same, a phrase that more or less applies to the strangely well-adjusted alternative option on display here. Kore-eda seems determined to denude a scenario of blatant sentimental tendencies by remaining vague on the exact details causing this unique formation, yet the film often plays like a warm yet inescapably modest account of emotions often hyperbolized. In the end, the film feels like a sight trifle from Kore-eda, though fans of the director’s work should certainly enjoy it.
Three grown sisters living in their grandmother’s house are »
- Nicholas Bell
Marking the subtle transitions in the lives of three sisters after they take under their wing a teenage half-sibling they never knew, “Our Little Sister” is so meticulously shot and gracefully orchestrated that it can be considered a worthy contempo successor to Kon Ichikawa’s masterpiece “The Makioka Sisters.” Yet, in attempting to evoke an overwhelmingly femme-centric universe for the first time, Hirokazu Kore-eda adopts an approach so serene that his protagonists’ pain as well as their personalities remain largely muffled as they drift soulfully through the seasons. While gently engaging throughout, the pic nonetheless doesn’t reverberate as deeply as the helmer’s 2013 Cannes jury prizewinner, “Like Father, Like Son,” but Kore-eda’s standing among the worldwide culturati will ensure a warm response at festivals and arthouse cinemas.
- Maggie Lee
Even the gentlest caress too repetitively delivered can eventually cause abrasion. Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's films, especially his recent string of honeyed, humanist explorations of childhoods, generational gaps and family dynamics, often have the feel of a hand on your shoulder, or a soft palm beneath your elbow, guiding you toward an ever-more-perfect sympathy with his finely wrought, desperately winning characters. And that sense of a careful human touch is one of many reasons to admire and enjoy the director's unshowy style. Certainly, his last films, the affecting, Cannes Jury Prize-winning "Like Father, Like Son," and the sublime and tiny "I Wish" both fit that pattern, in being tender investigations into familial bonds, both marked out by semi-miraculous child performances. But to say that "Our Little Sister" is a return to these themes is both praise and criticism: the lovely moments, the charming, held-in-check performances and the »
- Jessica Kiang
Star-studded English-language dramas from Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, Denis Villeneuve, Justin Kurzel, Paolo Sorrentino and Matteo Garrone will vie for the Palme d’Or alongside new films by Valerie Donzelli, Jacques Audiard, Hou Hsiao-hsien and Jia Zhangke at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival, which unveiled its official selection lineup on Thursday.
While there are only two U.S. directors in competition — Haynes with “Carol,” a 1950s lesbian love story starring Cate Blanchett, and Van Sant with his suicide drama “The Sea of Trees,” pairing Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe — this year’s Palme race looks to feature more high-profile Hollywood talent than any in recent memory. Canada’s Villeneuve (“Prisoners,” “Enemy”) will bring his Mexican drug-cartel drama “Sicario,” with Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin, while Australia’s Kurzel (“The Snowtown Murders”) secured a Palme berth for “Macbeth,” his Shakespeare adaptation toplining Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. »
- Justin Chang and Elsa Keslassy
Hirokazu Koreeda speaks about the International Film Industry. One of Japan’s most eminent contemporary directors has a new film coming out and bold opinions on Japanese cinema. Hirokazu Koreeda, the director of such films as After Life, I Wish and Like Father, Like Son, was at the Marrakech Film Festival in Morocco to lead [...]
Continue reading: Hirokazu Koreeda discusses Japanese films & Chinese / Korean Competition »
- Derek Sun
Another Japanese auteur returning with another project is Hirokazu Koreeda, whose last film, 2013’s Like Father, Like Son won the Jury Prize at Cannes (and was optioned by Steven Spielberg for a Us remake). He’s back with an adaptation of Kamakura Diary by Akimi Yoshida, and stars several notable actors, including Riri Faranki (from Like Father, Like Son), Ryohei Suzuki (from Sono’s Tokyo Tribe and Kurosawa’s Seventh Code) and Masami Nagasawa (from Koreeda’s 2011 I Wish). Koreeda tends to prize the perspective of children (most notably with 2004’s Nobody Knows), and his latest concerns three sisters who live in their grandmother’s home, their existence disturbed at the arrival of their 13-year-old half sister.
U.S. Distributor: Rights available
Release Date: Already in post-production, »
- Nicholas Bell
8 items from 2015
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