Right now I’m watching the amazing five part Yakuza Papers series by Fukasaku Kinji (1 2 3 4 5). I’ve been impressed with the way the actors inhabit their characters, so believable, every action adding to the overall realism of Fukasaku’s gritty gangster world. It seems most foreign movies have excellent performances, and I think this is mainly due to the worthwhile movies being separated from the chaff when studios decide what to export, but I wonder if it also has to do with a culture barrier. Can we, as Americans, not pick up on the little things that ring untrue in a French or Japanese actor’s performance? Can we not hear poorly delivered dialog because we don’t understand the natural rhythms of most foreign languages? I suppose it evens out with the enjoyable nuance we miss in poor subtitles and overdub, and the humor we don’t catch because it relies on cultural norms with which we’re not familiar.
Either way, I’m pretty sure Yakuza Papers is awesome.