Directors' Corner, Shunji Iwai

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

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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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