SADO ISLAND'S ANNUAL FESTIVAL
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
Credit: Photos by Dan Grunebaum
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 thats 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
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 wont get it, but I dont 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 thats
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,
Hes a genius, and then Ill 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
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
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?
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