films seen
23
average score
3.47*
nationality
Japan - 52 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

Raised under the wings of Shunji Iwai, Yukisada grew up to be one of Japan's better contemporary drama directors. His oeuvre is one of the most consistent I know, so when looking for solid Japanese drama, look no further.

The good stuff

Pink and Gray

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Pinku to Gure
Specifics
Japan [2015] - 119m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Pink and Gray poster

Pink and Gray is a pretty great film, but some familiarity with the director will definitely help you to appreciate it to its fullest.

Women Play Twice

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Onnatachi wa Nido Asobu
Specifics
Japan [2010] - 122m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Women Play Twice poster

Considering the film as a whole it's not that much different from a normal feature-length Japanese drama, though the change in characters and perspectives do add some welcome variation.

Parade

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Paredo
Specifics
Japan [2009] - 118m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Parade poster

Parade is quite a lengthy film and the first hour you might be excused for wondering what all the fuzz is about.

A Day on the Planet

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Kyo no Dekigoto
Specifics
Japan [2004] - 110m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
A Day on the Planet poster

It's not always easy tracking down Yukisada's films, but for fans of this type of films it's definitely worth the trouble.

Solid pieces

Theater: A Love Story

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Gekijo
Specifics
Japan [2020] - 136m
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Theater: A Love Story poster

A sweet but rather familiar romance by Yukisada. In recent years Yukisada's been exploring some different genre niches, with Theater: A Love Story he seems to return to what he knows best: a solid combination of romance and drama. It works well enough, but at this point I expect more (or something different).

Nagata is a play writer for an underground theater group. He's somewhat of a recluse, but when he meets Saki he has finally found someone he can open up to. He's finally able to write a popular play and the relationship between the two seems to be going into the right direction, until Nagata starts sabotaging himself.

Performances are great, the film looks nice and the score is very pleasant. There's really nothing wrong with this film, except that I've seen Yukisada do the exact same thing better in the past. His latest is just very safe and by the numbers. It's perfect filler when you're looking for quality drama, but it didn't get to me the way his best work can.

River's Edge

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Ribazu Ejji
Specifics
Japan [2018] - 118m
Genre
Comedy
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
River's Edge poster

Lately Yukisada's films have turned a little grittier. River's Edge has dark edges that I'm not used to seeing in his films. Yukisada handles it well, though the 90s setting (ugly 4:3 screen ratio included) feels completely superfluous. Good performance, good drama and some poignant moments, but it lacks that little extra.

Narratage

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Narataju
Specifics
Japan [2017] - 140m
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Narratage poster

A typical Yukisada film. A solid mix of drama and romance, some tougher themes and soft styling. If you've seen some of his other films, you'll know what to expect. Good acting, fine camera work and some touching moments without becoming too sentimental. A bit too long though, but otherwise very good.

Five Minutes to Tomorrow

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Mayonaka no Gofun Mae
Specifics
Japan, China [2014] - 129m
Genre
Romance, Mystery
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Five Minutes to Tomorrow poster

Solid Pan-Asian romance that turns mystery halfway through. Yukisada is a great director and aces both genres, but the combination is somehow less than the sum of its parts. The two parts never quite gel together and I would've preferred it if the film had stuck to the romance. Still, there's plenty to like here, so well recommended for fans of Yukisada's work.

Tsuya's Nights

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Tsuya no Yoru
Specifics
Japan [2013] - 138m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Tsuya's Nights poster

Closed Note

by Isao Yukisada
Specifics
Japan [2007] - 138m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Closed Note poster

Into the Faraway Sky

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Tôku no Sora ni Kieta
Specifics
Japan [2007] - 145m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Into the Faraway Sky poster

Snowy Love Fall in Spring

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Haru no Yuki
Specifics
Japan [2005] - 150m
Genre
Romance
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Snowy Love Fall in Spring poster

Yukisada is best known for making contemporary drama/romance cinema, but 2005 was the year that he wanted to do something different. Year One in the North and Snowy Love Fall in Spring are two films that feature a more historic setting. While not Yukisada's biggest strength, Snowy Love Fall in Spring is clearly the better of the two.

The film takes a while to get up to speed, which isn't too surprising considering the rather uptight and formal early 20th century setting. It's not really an ideal era for sprawling romance, but the second half makes up for that, when the story finally takes a turn for the tragic and Yukisada feels visibly more at ease.

Performances are strong, with Tsumabuki sticking out in a stand-out role. The rest of the cast is good too, but not quite as notable. The cinematography is classic but refined, the same can be said about the soundtrack. The film's a bit long-winding and the intro a bit long, apart from that this was a fine romantic tragedy.

Crying Out of Love, In the Center of the World

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Sekai no Chûshin de, Ai wo Sakebu
Specifics
Japan [2004] - 138m
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Crying Out of Love, In the Center of the World poster

Rock 'n' Roll Mishin

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Rokkun Rouru Mishin
Specifics
Japan [2002] - 120m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Rock 'n' Roll Mishin poster

Jam Films

by Daizaburo Hanada, Jôji Iida, Shunji Iwai, Ryuhei Kitamura, Rokuro Mochizuki, Tetsuo Shinohara, Yukihiko Tsutsumi, Isao Yukisada
Specifics
Japan [2002] - 109m
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Jam Films poster

Go

by Isao Yukisada
Specifics
Japan [2001] - 122m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Go poster

Luxurious Bone

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Zeitaku na Hone
Specifics
Japan [2001] - 107m
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Luxurious Bone poster

Sunflower

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Himawari
Specifics
Japan [2000] - 121m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Sunflower poster

Open House

by Isao Yukisada
Specifics
Japan [1998] - 116m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Open House poster

The inoffensive

Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2016: Reflections

by Brillante Mendoza, Kulikar Sotho, Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Asia Sanmenkyô
Specifics
Japan, Philippines [2016] - 118m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2016: Reflections poster

Decent anthology, though based on the talent involved here, expectations were slightly higher. Three solid shorts, but it's all a bit expected and safe, i.e. socially conscious drama without visual excess. It's not the best use of the anthology medium if you ask me. Still, not a bad trio of shorts.

Aroused by Gymnopedies

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Jimunopedi ni Midareru
Specifics
Japan [2016] - 83m
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Aroused by Gymnopedies poster

Yukisada's entry in Nikkatsu's Roman Porno reboot. While not bad, the constraints of the genre work against the film. The drama is laudable, but there are just too many interruptions that distract from Itsuji Itao's emotional struggles.

A Closing Day

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Tojiru Hi
Specifics
Japan [2000] - 91m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
A Closing Day poster

Worthy but flawed

Year One in the North

by Isao Yukisada
Also known as
Kita no Zeronen
Specifics
Japan [2005] - 170m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Year One in the North poster