I met Satoshi Ono in New York, when his excellent DV doc, Danchizake (Homemade Sake), played at MoMA's Documentary Fortnight Dec. 2002. Danchizake is an elliptical, self-effacing, yet powerful story of the filmmaker's own family and the emotional rifts caused by years of economic hardship. Midnight Eye reviewed it in the Spring of 2001.
In the latest issue, ME does a roundup of jishu eiga, selfmade films, a burgeoning genre in which Ono is cited as a leading practitioner. [His 2003 short, Good Morning Yokohama, just screened in Dallas at the Asian Film Festival.]
ME also includes a technique-heavy interview with Japan's most successful documentary-style filmmaker, Hirokazu Kore-eda. I've admired Kore-eda's work since seeing the quiet, beautiful small-footprint Maboroshi at New Directors/New Films almost ten years ago. And After Life is one of my favorite films ever.
Now, with the coming release of his fourth feature Nobody Knows (#3, Always, wasn't distributed in the US), Kore-eda seems ready for a change: he's making a jidai geki (costume drama) for Shochiku. "To be natural doesn't automatically mean to be real," he says. "So far I've tried to use naturalism to search for reality, but now I will try total fiction to search for that reality." [via greencine, of course]