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Yoshino’s Barber Shop

Individualism finds a champion, but children's cinema is the loser in "Yoshino's Barber Shop," a Japanese morality movie about an out-of-town boy who refuses to get his hair cut like everyone else. The amount of four-letter words -- and the pivotal role pornography plays in the storyline -- will have Western auds looking askance at this kidpic oddity.

With:
With: Masako Motai, Ryo Yoneda, Kazuyuki Asano, Senri Sakurai, Shota Okawa, Ryo Muramatsu, Shinnosuke Miyao, Hoshi Isida.

Individualism finds a champion, but children’s cinema is the loser in “Yoshino’s Barber Shop,” a Japanese morality movie played for laughs about an out-of-town boy who refuses to get his hair cut like everyone else. After unspooling at two Nipponese fests, but yet to play commercially, pic seems destined largely for local consumption. The amount of four-letter words smattered throughout the dialogue — and the pivotal role pornography plays in the storyline — will have conservative Western auds looking askance at this kidpic oddity.

In an isolated town in southern Japan, barber Yoshiko Yoshino (Masako Motai) rules with a pair of iron scissors. Cheerful to the max, she’s custodian of the village’s traditional bowl-shaped haircut, which allegedly protects boys from the jealous mountain goddess. When a boy from Tokyo moves in with dyed hair and a new style, he wins the admiration of both sexes — though it’s his dad’s pornography collection that clinches it with the boys. The resulting rebellion raises Yoshino’s ire. Pic schematically uses the village as a microcosm for Japan, and it’s not without amusing moments. Perfs are broad, and technical credits merely adequate.

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Yoshino's Barber Shop

Japan

Production: A Pia Film Festival Partners (Pia Co., Tokyo Broadcasting System, Tokyo FM Broadcasting Co., Nikkatsu, Imagica) production. (International sales: Pia Film Festival, Tokyo.) Produced by Mayumi Amano. Directed, written by Naoko Ogigami.

Crew: Camera (color), Shogo Ueno; editor, Shinichi Fushima; music, Hiroko Ide; art director, Takeshi Matsuzuka. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Kinderfest), Feb. 12, 2004. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: With: Masako Motai, Ryo Yoneda, Kazuyuki Asano, Senri Sakurai, Shota Okawa, Ryo Muramatsu, Shinnosuke Miyao, Hoshi Isida.

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