The wistful longing of discontented Japanese salarymen in Shall We Dance? is absent from the bracingly funny Oh Lucy! Setsuko (Shinobu Terajima), an office lady tugging at her restrictive white collar, bubbles with anger and resentment.
In Fiona Tan’s glorious ode to a Japanese volcano, Mount Fuji is both geological marvel and malleable symbol, its solidity and grandeur inspiring conquest and contemplation. Fuji stands as one of the world’s great backdrops, appearing in countless snapshots from the introduction of photography.
Director Maggie Greenwald has adapted Augusta Trobaugh’s 2001 historical romance into a decorous feminist drama whose characters share many qualities with the willful nonconformists of her other period films, The Ballad of Little Jo and Songcatcher.
Savor the delectable comedy Tampopo on a full stomach. Juzo Itami’s 1985 paean to the fastidious preparation and blissful consumption of food can still be enjoyed solely as a satisfying feast, but it’s also a biting satire of Japanese culture and its uneasy incorporation of Western influences.