Yoshihiro Nakamura

NYAFF 2014

NYAFF 2014 runs June 27-July 14 in New York City. Follow all of our coverage here. If there’s one takeaway from Yoshihiro Nakamura‘s (Fish Story, Golden Slumber) latest film it’s that people are the same the world over. More specifically, people are horrible the world over. The Snow White Murder Case explores this phenomenon by way of a vicious murder and the equally brutal savaging of the prime suspect in the court of public opinion via social media and TV “news.” A woman’s dead body is discovered in a park after being stabbed multiple times and set on fire. Akahoshi Yuji (Ayano Gô), a low-level assistant on a true crime news show, is approached by an old school friend who was the victim’s co-worker at a big cosmetic company and is in the mood to reluctantly share gossip. Seeing it as a possible career-maker, Yuji begins teasing the revelations on Twitter as a lead-up to producing an episode of the show focused on the highly publicized case. Interviews with other employees lead him to a possible suspect in the shy and “odd” Shirono Miki (Inoue Mao) whose disappearance, conspicuously timed to right after the murder of the beautiful and beloved Miki Noriko (Nanao), confirms her guilt to strangers and acquaintances alike. The Snow White Murder Case explores a sensational crime by way of the hunt for and public persecution of the prime suspect, and it does it all without once touching on the police investigation. Instead, while the characters are busy condemning and […]

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Yoshihiro Nakamura isn’t as high a profile Japanese director as folks like Takashi Miike or Kiyoshi Kurosawa, but he truly deserves to be. His early career focused on horror, but the last few years have seen him deliver powerfully affecting entertainment in the form of films that explore friendships and relationships through fresh, thrilling and often fascinating  stories. Fish Story, Golden Slumber and A Boy and His Samurai are fantastic movies, each charming and supremely entertaining in their own ways., and any one of those films would mark Nakamura as a director to watch. But all three on his resume means anything he directs deserves at least a cursory glance. Thanks to Third Window Films those of us who don’t speak Japanese finally have the opportunity to view one that preceded the three above but retains some of the same themes and much of the quality.

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Writer/director Yoshihiro Nakamura is no stranger to cross genre perfection as evidenced by his last two films, Fish Story and Golden Slumber. The former puts the power of a pop song up against the impending end of the world, and the latter places a Beatles tune at the center of an assassination conspiracy. The two share more in common than simply a love of music as both are also absolutely brilliant tales that weave complicated stories into cinematic magic. His latest features a far simpler story, but Nakamura still manages to mash genres into a film that delights in its love of life, family, and companionship. The joys and hardships of a single parent family, the ubiquitous TV baking-battle shows, and a samurai struggling with his own code in an alien environment all blend together seamlessly into a creation that rivals the delicious-looking pastries on screen… which is an incredible feat. A Boy and His Samurai is an absolute pleasure to watch from beginning to end.

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An innocent man is accused of a heinous and high level crime and finds himself on the run from the authorities and from those who set him up. The sub-genre is fairly common with films ranging from The Fugitive to Tell No One, but the granddaddy behind them all is Alfred Hitchcock with films like North By Northwest and Frenzy. And now a new film can be added to the mix, and it’s already receiving praise and being labeled with the “Hitchcockian” superlative. Director Yoshihiro Nakamura‘s new film deserves the accolades, but I’d argue it does the rotund Brit one better… it’s Hitchcock with heart.

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In 2012, with a meteor going to destroy Earth, three men spend the afternoon inside a record store listening to an obscure band. As the band’s story is told, it shows how their song might save the planet from the oncoming apocalypse.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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