French-Canadian Indie filmmaker captures Japan’s eccentricities in free online comedy series28 July, 2012 by Chad
A while ago, I learned about Alex Paille through on article in the Japan Times, whose stint teaching English in Japan had him acquainted with the controversial Sono Shion. Now the protege to one Japan’s most acclaimed filmmakers, Paille has released a number of independent short films himself, one of which was written by Sono himself. His works has been showcased and well received at the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival.
More recently, Paille has taken to producing his own film series titled Mari Does Her Best! (まりちゃん頑張れ！/ Marichan Ganbare!). Split into 8 parts of roughly 10 minutes in length each, Mari Does her Best is a short comedy series that manages to capture the many eccentricities of modern Japan into episodic bite sized bits. In a video interview with 3:AM magazine, Paille describes the series as likely being something that overseas otaku will enjoy.
Sure enough, each episode of Mari Does Her Best! does feature certain well known aspects of Japanese otaku and other culture abnormalities. Personally, I find the interpretation and play on what the public expects of Japanese media in Mari Does Her Best! amusing. Just a few episodes in and many laughs later, I was a fan.
With other Japanese mediums struggling to understand their identity in an international market, the French-Canadian has made a series that is effectively even more Japanese than many other local efforts. It hits all the right spots for those with an interest in things Japanese, especially manga, which Paille had been greatly inspired by as a youth.
Perhaps the most amazing point is that Paille had filmed the entire series using a Canon 7D camera on just a 10,000 yen (SGD$160) budget. This is especially inspiring to other aspiring filmmakers. And even with such limitations, such genuinely interesting work can be created with the keenness and talent, traits that Sono must have no doubt spotted in Paille.
I’ll definitely recommend you watching the Mari Does Her Best! series. It’s probably the most amusing thing you’ll watch today. All of the episodes have been uploaded online for free and are conveniently subbed in English. For those who have the time to spare, you can find the rest of the episodes as well as his other works over at his YouTube channel BujinkanAlex. You can also check out Alex Paille’s new website for a more conveniently sorted list.
Special thanks to Alex Paille himself for the photos.
Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.