Directors' Corner, Shunji Iwai

Shunji Iwai’s Filmography Part 2: Swallowtail Butterfly, April Story & All About Lily Chou-Chou


I’m glad I managed to reach the 100th for the Silver Moon site before this two week hiatus. I’m not sure if when I come back I have this much time to watch and blog films (the last two weeks I’ve watched and reviewed movies like a madman, one post per day on average), but I’m well intended to update this site regularly. This next batch of Shunji Iwai is an intriguing one. Many people would point this period as Iwai’s peak of his career, and indeed, I can see his ambition towards those projects. In a way, these three films keep redefine my perception of him as an auteur director. The first thing would be his small-based Western exposure compared to many other contemporary Japanese directors. At first I thought it was because he was the type of director who appeal to the native audience than the rest until Swallowtail Butterfly (1996) completely blows my mind. The film has an international cast, it features multi-linguist dialogues and while it’s set in Japan, the film is shot throughout Asian countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Iwai edits it in America. In fact, the crew only regards the film as 30% Japanese. Which brings me to the next point, so then why his films don’t have a huge international appeal despite he was one of the few Japanese of his time to cast international cast, and eventually make films in America?

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2018 Spring Anime, Weekly Anime Summary

Weekly Anime Summary – Summer 2018 Week 12

With week 12, a handful of shows reach their final episodes. They mostly wrap up nicely, thankfully, even lesser shows like Shichisei ends on a high note or Hanebado and Tsukumogami are looking good in their last leg. I sure will miss Asobi Asobase and whatever hijinks it came up with: butt-lazer, foul-mouth sexbot, whatever… I love them all. After 6 consecutive climax after climax, Planet With finally ends. Still pretty much closes its threads skillfully.  Also, as a last note, this post will be the last Weekly Anime of this Summer season, as I will take a 2-week break overseas. The next post regarding anime will be in 3 weeks with the Final Impressions of the Summer anime, followed by the mega-post First Impression of the next Fall Season. Now, enjoy the last look in Summer anime offerings, starting with all those shows that finished this week.

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Directors' Corner, Shunji Iwai

Shunji Iwai’s Filmography Part 1: Fireworks, Love Letter & Picnic


Even with the first three entries, they already established Shunji Iwai as a talent to look out for. He works on a shoestring budget so his films aren’t the most exquisite looking, but you start to see many of his trademarks. First is his insistence on portraying youthful sensibility through his teenage protagonists (Fireworks (1993), Picnic (1995) and their romances. It sounds like nothing special, I know, but he has a firm handle on both depicting his characters as complex and believable, and the romance that is always on the right note. His emphasis on atmosphere is there, too, as you can see in a snowy landscape in Love Letter (1995), accompany with the soothing piano. But his most recongizable trademark (which brings a fair share of distractors as well) comes from his music-video and TV-format root: his hypersatured images and his focus on music squences just like the MTV and his rapid-editing. Only in 3 films, we see him going from well-acclaimed Love Letter to cult-status Picnic, further signify the fact that he’s fearless. I personally love the way he writes his characters, especially with those opening sequences that already establish very well the characters and their own situations. Really looking forward for the next batch.

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