films seen
18
average score
3.25*
nationality
Japan - 56 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

A director who built his career on dreamy, poetic teen dramas. Iwai's style is breezy, effortless and subtle, but rarely without a darker twinge. No doubt one of the essentials of contemporary Japanese cinema, but his films are not for everyone.

Rare treats

The Case of Hana & Alice poster

The Case of Hana & Alice

by Shunji Iwai
Also known as
Hana to Alice Satsujin Jiken
Specifics
Japan [2015] - 100 mins
Genre
Drama, Animation
More info on
4.5

Iwai found the right balance between Japanese live action drama and the magic of animation. The film looks great, the story is moving, the characters quirky but lovable.

Hana and Alice poster

Hana and Alice

by Shunji Iwai
Also known as
Hana to Arisu
Specifics
Japan [2004] - 135 mins
Genre
Drama
More info on
4.5

It's a very sweet, very natural and naive little film that has charm aplenty and feels particularly short for a film that runs well past the 120-minute barrier.

The good stuff

A Bride for Rip Van Winkle poster

A Bride for Rip Van Winkle

by Shunji Iwai
Also known as
Rippu Van Winkuru no Hanayome
Specifics
Japan [2016] - 179 mins
Genre
Drama
More info on
4.0

With this film he returns to his core style, picking things up right where he left off back in 2004. Strong acting, an intriguing plot and a warm, dreamy atmosphere make this an easy recommend.

April Story poster

April Story

by Shunji Iwai
Also known as
Shigatsu Monogatari
Specifics
Japan [1998] - 67 mins
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
4.0
Swallowtail Butterfly poster

Swallowtail Butterfly

by Shunji Iwai
Also known as
Suwarôteiru
Specifics
Japan [1996] - 148 mins
Genre
Crime, Drama
More info on
4.0
Picnic poster

Picnic

by Shunji Iwai
Also known as
Pikunikku
Specifics
Japan [1996] - 68 mins
Genre
Drama, Fantasy
More info on
4.0
Undo poster

Undo

by Shunji Iwai
Specifics
Japan [1994] - 47 mins
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
4.0

Solid pieces

Last Letter poster

Last Letter

by Shunji Iwai
Also known as
Ni Hao, Zhihua
Specifics
China [2018] - 114 mins
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
3.5

Shunji Iwai in China. Last Letter is certainly better than his American adventure, but it doesn't quite match his prime Japanese work. The drama is fine, but there's a little too much intrigue and not enough time to delve into the core drama. The acting is great though and there are some pretty shots scattered throughout the film. A solid entry in Iwai's oeuvre, but he's made better films.

New York, I Love You poster

New York, I Love You

by Fatih Akin, Yvan Attal, Randall Balsmeyer, Allen Hughes, Shunji Iwai, Wen Jiang, Shekhar Kapur, Joshua Marston, Mira Nair, Natalie Portman, Brett Ratner
Specifics
USA [2008] - 103 mins
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Romance
More info on
3.5
Jam Films poster

Jam Films

by Daizaburo Hanada, Jôji Iida, Shunji Iwai, Ryuhei Kitamura, Rokuro Mochizuki, Tetsuo Shinohara, Yukihiko Tsutsumi, Isao Yukisada
Specifics
Japan [2002] - 109 mins
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
More info on
3.5
Love Letter poster

Love Letter

by Shunji Iwai
Specifics
Japan [1995] - 117 mins
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
3.5
Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom? poster

Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?

by Shunji Iwai
Also known as
Uchiage Hanabi, Shita kara Miruka? Yoko kara Miruka?
Specifics
Japan [1993] - 49 mins
Genre
Drama
More info on
3.5

Worthy but flawed

All about Lily Chou-Chou poster

All about Lily Chou-Chou

by Shunji Iwai
Also known as
Riri Shushu no Subete
Specifics
Japan [2001] - 146 mins
Genre
Crime, Drama, Music, Romance, Thriller
More info on
2.5
Fried Dragon Fish poster

Fried Dragon Fish

by Shunji Iwai
Specifics
Japan [1993] - 50 mins
Genre
Crime, Mystery
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2.5
Ghost Soup poster

Ghost Soup

by Shunji Iwai
Specifics
Japan [1992] - 58 mins
Genre
Drama
More info on
2.5

Dubious filler

The Kon Ichikawa Story poster

The Kon Ichikawa Story

by Shunji Iwai
Also known as
Ichikawa Kon Monogatari
Specifics
Japan [2006] - 83 mins
Genre
Documentary
More info on
2.0

Plain forgettable

Vampire poster

Vampire

by Shunji Iwai
Specifics
USA, Japan [2011] - 120 mins
Genre
Drama, Horror, Thriller
More info on
1.5

Big nopes

Friends after 3.11 poster

Friends after 3.11

by Shunji Iwai
Specifics
Japan [2011] - 120 mins
Genre
Documentary
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