Tag Archives: Masako Motai

Nobuhiko Ôbayashi – Pekin no suika AKA Beijing Watermelon (1989)

Contemporary Japanese Film by Mark Schilling (1999):

Topicality is tricky. Sylvester Stallone’s one-man war in Afghanistan in Rambo III might have suited the Evil Empire mentality of the early 1980s, but in 1988, with Russian troops rapidly withdrawing from the country, it was ludicrous. Rambo was battling a Cold War ghost.

Beijing Watermelon, which tells the story of a Chiba vegetable seller’s encounter with Chinese students, was also overtaken by events. Filming scheduled for Beijing had to be canceled because of the tragedy at Tienanmen Square. But instead of plugging away as though nothing had happened, director Nobuhiko Obayashi seized the opportunity to comment on that tragedy and make one of the most original, moving films in recent memory. Read More »

Naoko Ogigami – Toiretto AKA Toilet (2010)

Dysfunctional family and culture run amok in Toilet, which had an absolutely packed house last night at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival and had many of the cast & crew in attendance at the screening. The film certainly has it’s Toronto roots showing as it was filmed here (although it’s actually set in the US), with familiar faces & locations on screen. We follow a family through a dysfunctional and eccentric set siblings Ray, Lisa and Maury and their grandmother from Japan, however a language barrier exists between the generations. It’s not the only barrier here as there are strong emotional barrier in each of the characters, all of whom have their own issues to work though. It’s an interesting tale of the individual journeys with the collective family journey, which although unintended become completely intertwined. Read More »