Set in the 19th century, when Japan was closed to the West, “Silk” offers an unusual love story revolving around Herve (Michael Pitt), wife Helene (Keira Knightley) and the young unnamed beauty to whom he has never shared a conversation (played by Sei Ashina).

“Shinobi: Heart Under Blade”

Equal parts Romeo and Juliet and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Shinobi offers breathtaking cinematography, appealing actors, and ninjas. What more could a movie fan ask for?

`Geisha’ raises fears of stereotypical movie roles

In both the book “Memoirs of a Geisha” and its film adaptation, women fall into two categories: sexy geisha and conniving dragon ladies, two stereotypes about Asian women that linger today. Already some members of the Asian-American community are worried that the film, which opens locally Friday, may reinforce unflattering images of Asian women as being submissive, sexual objects.

The Art of Persuasion: `Minbo’ Proves Words are Mightier Than the Sword

The yakuza – the Japanese equivalent of the Mafia – has achieved notoriety of romantic proportions in films such as “Black Rain” and “The Yakuza.” But in his brilliantly clever “Minbo – Or The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion,” director-writer Juzu Itami presents the group as nothing more than a bunch of thugs who take pride in chopping off bits of each other’s pinkies and think nothing of hiding cockroaches in food to blackmail restaurants for hush money.

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