Sunday, July 5, 2015

JAPAN CUTS 2015 starts Thursday

Let’s get this out of the way and get me into deep trouble with some part of the Asian film community in New York  and say  this year’s Japan Cuts has a more solid selection of films than this year’s New York Asian Film Festival. Even with the films I didn’t like at Japan Cuts I still felt as though as if I saw something of weight, with some of the NYAFF films they were gone from my mind as soon as the credits rolled. (Sorry NYAFF- I can't remember some of the films I saw)

As you may have guessed from the title of this piece this year’s Japan Cuts at New York’s Japan Society starts on the Thursday and runs to the 19th. Its 11 days of some of the best recent Japanese cinema as well as the premieres of restorations of two classic films. It’s a great selection of films and trust me I know since as this posts I’ve seen all but four of the films (NEKO SAMURAI 2 wasn’t screened for writers and the other films I haven’t gotten to yet.). This year there is some killer stuff beginning with 100 YEN LOVE which is one of my favorite films of 2015. The selection of films is so good that I’m seriously considering going back to the Japan Society to see the films again.

At this point I don’t know what to say. I’ve been touting Japan Cuts as long as I’ve been doing Unseen and so you know the drill – great films you may never get to see again in the lovely Japan Society. While I know many of you hesitate to go because of the location I really want to tell you that this year, more so than in past years, you need to go- there is just way too many great films you shouldn’t miss.

If you need a pointer toward the good stuff below is my handy list of films, but honestly everything this year is genuinely good and worth your time to try. Yes there are a couple that didn’t float my boat but I’m not going to point them out here partly because they are still solid enough for you to try and partly because I’ve spoken to other writers who liked what I didn’t.

I should mention I have seen the experimental films and they are all quite good. I will review them if I can get a review that actually works on the page

If you want to know what I loved here’s my must see list:

JOKER GAME- I reviewed this earlier today and it's a really fun wartime spy film perfect for curling up with a big bowl of popcorn

BELLADONNA OF SADNESS one of the criminally under seen works of cinematic art. A must see for cult movie fans, art fans and anyone who wants to see really cool movies. (see the review earlier today)

I ALONE- Two men with a "punk ethic" get caught up with corruption, criminals and a missing baby.

THE LIGHT SHINES ONLY THERE- dark slice of life that I didn't want to see but ended up loving. Seeing films that surprise me is what make Japan Cuts so wonderful.

100 YEN LOVE- Centerpiece of Japan Cuts may very well be the best film at the fest and one of the best of the year with a breakout performance by Sakura Ando that will knock your socks off.

HIBI ROCK wild and crazy rock and roll manga adaption is just a blast and a half and sure to make you smile.

A FAREWELL TO JINU another manga adaption has a young man going to a small village and hoping to live without money. Along the way he meets the crazy people who live there including the village's god.  This is a two hour smile.

SEVEN WEEKS is the latest from HAUSU director Nobuhiko Obayashi. That should be enough to get a good number of you to buy tickets. A unique cinematic vision from a one of a kind director is something glorious to to see on the big screen. You need to go simply because this exists and will challenge you. I think Mondo is going to review this, but if not I'm planning on taking a crack at down the road away from the crush of festival films.

PIETA IN THE TOILET has a dying artist reconnecting with life. Based on the last diary page of Osamu Tezuka its something that will haunt you.

For tickets and more information go to the Japan Cuts page (remember NEKO SAMURAI 2 is sold out)

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