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With his stripped-down style and minimalist aesthetic, director Masahiro Kobayashi offers a clean, cool vibe for a new era of Japanese cinema. Kobayashi deals with the issues and problems that plague Japanese culture, often exposing truths that society does not want to see. Bashing (2005, 82 mins.) tells the story of Yuko, a Japanese aid worker held hostage in Iraq. Her return home is anything but happy, as coworkers, friends, and family harass her for shaming the country. Shot in black-and-white, Bootleg Film (1999, 74 mins.) is a darkly comic road movie about two men, who are best friends despite being on opposite sides of the law. One is a retiring Yakuza, the other a cop, and the two embark on a road trip from hell to attend the funeral of their mutual beloved. Man Walking on Snow (2001, 103 mins.) follows lonely widower Nobuo, who struggles to communicate with his sons. Lastly, Kobayashi directs himself in The Rebirth (2007, 102 mins.), a stark drama about a widower grieving for his daughter, who was stabbed to death by her classmate. Haunted by the loss, the man moves to northern Japan, where he spots the mother of his daughter's killer working as a cook at a local inn. In Japanese with English subtitles.

Masahiro Kobayashi---Japan---1999-2007---361 mins.
  • 4-DVD set
  • Letterboxed