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 PAST ISSUES
776: Streep talk
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768: Beyond the universe
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547: Xterra Japan
546: Earth Celebration
545: Idée R-bar
544: Laforet Museum
543: Hara Museum
542: Fuji Rock Festival’04
541: Bunkamura Museum of Art

the scene

Earth Celebration

SADO ISLAND'S ANNUAL FESTIVAL

Clockwise from top left: gypsy brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia perform with a belly dancer, Kodo leader Motofumi Yamaguchi, Kodo drummers performing in the grand finale and an impromptu drum circle

Credit: Photos by Dan Grunebaum

 


star struck

Night of surprises

Director M Night Shyamalan once again toys with audiences in The Village

By CHRIS BETROS

M Night Shyamalan and Bryce Dallas Howard

Ever since he scored a hit with The Sixth Sense in 1999, director M Night Shyamalan knows that when he makes a film, the audience expects a twist at the end. But the 34-year-old shrugs off the pressure. “I just try to make my films as personal as I can and hope they connect,” Shyamalan said during a visit to Tokyo with actress Bryce Dallas Howard to promote The Village, the fourth spooky film that he has written, produced and directed himself.

Set in rural Pennsylvania in 1897, The Village centers on an isolated hamlet surrounded by woods inhabited by unseen monsters, “those whom we do not speak of,” as they are referred to by the frightened citizens. According to a truce made generations ago, the creatures do not enter the village and the villagers do not broach the woods. But all that is about to change…and that’s all we can tell you because members of the media had to sign a contract promising not to reveal anything about “those whom we do not speak of.”

“Each of my movies is like therapy to me, talking out my issues,” said Shyamalan. “Unbreakable was about a guy feeling a burden, Signs was about a guy trying to regain his faith. The Village is about the irrational belief in love. However, I know that while the movies are very personal to me, I have established a relationship with audiences. If you hear there is a movie called The Door by M Night Shyamalan, people will have certain expectations. I cherish that responsibility. Studio bosses often tell me not to do this or that because audiences won’t get it, but I don’t believe that. I trust audiences.”

Born in India, Shyamalan was raised in Philadelphia. He has family all over the world and always tries to imagine how his relatives in India, London or Singapore will react to his films, as well as his Philadelphia friends with whom he eats burgers and plays basketball. “I think that’s why my films do well internationally,” he said.

For 23-year-old Howard (the daughter of Ron Howard), The Village is an impressive film debut. Her performance as a blind village woman has been widely praised. “I got lots of advice from my father, mainly to trust Night and not to ever take success for granted,” said the seasoned stage actress.

Shyamalan, who has turned down offers to collaborate with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas on the fourth Indiana Jones film, and declined an offer to direct the third Harry Potter film, said he wants to keep pushing the boundaries himself to see how far he can go. “I know some people will say, ‘He’s a genius,’ and then I’ll walk around the corner and hear ‘His movies stink.’ Whether everyone loves or hates my movies is not important. Being true to myself is.”

Photo credit: Chris Betros

 

 


q&a

Noli Bravo

If you've ever been to the Lipo Bar at the Capitol Tokyu Hotel, you've probably seen Noli Bravo crooning for late-night customers. Before coming to Japan, Bravo was a traveling solo musician for about 15 years in his native Hawaii. Two years ago, he started playing four nights a week at the Capitol Tokyu, with occasional appearances at Konishiki's restaurant Unbalance. In addition to being a pianist, guitarist and vocalist, Bravo is a wedding minister and producer and has recently started his own company, Hawaiian Great Love (ai-love-u.jp), for couples who want to get married in the Aloha state.

WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO JAPAN?
I received an email from a very dear friend/mentor, Jesse Jocson, who offered me a fill-in job at a new piano bar in Koriyama. Afterwards, I landed a short but nice comfy gig at Hotel Grand Continental.

WHAT IS THE MOST UNUSUAL SONG REQUEST YOU HAD?
On my very first night at Lipo, someone asked me if I knew Tetsuya Komuro (very famous pop music producer). I thought it must have been the name of a song and said no, I didn't. It turns out he was in the hotel having dinner and wanted to come up for a brief jam session. I ended up singing while he busted his chops on the grand.

DO CUSTOMERS CHAT TO YOU?
Absolutely. If you want to feel the connection, it doesn't come from clapping, but a nice simple chat always makes you feel more at home.

HOW'S YOUR JAPANESE?
Average.

WHAT'S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Solitude. Nothing is more meaningful than having to express your inner soul.

WHAT'S THE MOST FRUSTRATING THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The late train ride home.

WHAT DO YOU DO IN THE DAYTIME?
Business meetings, brainstorming, follow-ups and family bonding.

WOULDN'T YOU RATHER HAVE A DAY JOB?
In the past, I worked as an accountant by day and musician by night. Now, I still do both, but only by budgeting my earnings from my night job and my new company. This is one tough accounting job now, believe me. CB

Photo credit: Courtesy of Noli Bravo

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