A collection of reviews of films from off the beaten path; a travel guide for those who love the cinematic world and want more than the mainstream releases.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
North America's Largest Festival of New Japanese Cinema Announces First Confirmed Highlights for 11th Annual Installment + 'CUT ABOVE' Awardee
Set for July 13 to 23, the 2017 JAPAN CUTS festival will feature an exclusive premiere roster of nearly 30 films, ranging from big budget blockbusters to powerful shoestring indies, and includes spotlights on documentary cinema, experimental films, shorts and recent restorations of classic Japanese favorites. With the full schedule to be announced in early June, highlights confirmed to date include:
Over the Fence – East Coast Premiere: Critically-acclaimed drama by popular indie director Nobuhiro Yamashita (Linda Linda Linda), starring featured festival guest Joe Odagiri.
ANTI-PORNO – East Coast Premiere: Festival favorite Sion Sono’s subversive take on the Roman Porno genre, commissioned by famed Nikkatsu movie studio.
Neko Atsume House – North American Premiere: Family-friendly comedic drama adapted from Japan's internationally beloved cat collecting app.
Daguerrotype – New York Premiere: Celebrated director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's first French-language film, a Gothic horror fantasy with an all-European cast.
Resistance at Tule Lake: East Coast Premiere: Resonant documentary about incarcerated Japanese-Americans standing up for justice during WWII.
Also this year, the festival will award the 2017 CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Performance in Film to Joe Odagiri—a matinee idol, fashion icon and bone fide power brand in Japan, whose immense talent and diverse roles have been blazing Japanese screens for nearly two decades.
"Joe Odagiri is just one of many special guests who will attend this year among celebrated established filmmakers and some equally remarkable breakout talents," says Aiko Masubuchi, Senior Film Programmer at Japan Society. "And following current trends in the industry, this year we'll also focus on work that breaks the boundaries of social mores, national borders, and formal constraints through radical cultural phenomena, international co-productions, and avant-garde pieces expanding our definition of what Japanese cinema means today."
In the run-up to this year's festival, the JAPAN CUTS programming team served as jury of the 2017 Osaka Asian Film Festival’s Indie Forum section, awarding the 2nd annual JAPAN CUTS Award to Love and Goodbye and Hawaii directed by Shingo Matsumura on March 11, 2017. Additionally, the first JAPAN CUTS Audience Award winner Flying Colors from the festival’s 2016 10-year anniversary edition receives an encore screening on Friday, June 2, 7:00 pm as a "JAPAN CUTS Classic" in Japan Society Monthly Classics programming.
Emphasizing the diversity and vitality of one of the most exciting world cinemas, JAPAN CUTS gives cinephiles their first (and sometimes only) chance to discover the next waves of filmmaking from Japan. Founded in 2007, the festival presents the biggest Japanese blockbusters, raucous genre flicks, peerless independents, arthouse gems, radical documentaries and avant-garde forms, along with unique collaborative programs, workshops and panels put together with the cooperation of other international organizations. Special guest actors and filmmakers join the festivities for Q&As, award ceremonies, and the wild themed parties and receptions audiences have come to expect, with live music, food and libations.
Through its Film Program, Japan Society has introduced Japanese cinema to New York’s international audiences since the 1970s, presenting works by the era’s then new giants Shohei Imamura, Seijun Suzuki, and Hiroshi Teshigahara and others upon their first release, and groundbreaking retrospectives on now-canonical figures such as Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu. Special guests such as Akira Kurosawa, Machiko Kyo, Toshiro Mifune, Robert De Niro, Francis Ford Coppola, and Hideko Takamine had already been part of Japan Society’s events before JAPAN CUTS launched.
Since JAPAN CUTS' inception, the festival has attracted nearly 50,000 filmgoers and presented over 275 feature films, many never-before seen in the U.S. The first annual JAPAN CUTS was one of the most successful single events in the Society's 2007-08 centennial celebration. The festival has premiered several films that have gone on to garner international acclaim, including: 0.5mm, 100 Yen Love, About Her Brother, Buy a Suit, Confessions, Death Note, Fish Story, Kamome Diner, Love Exposure, Milocrorze: A Love Story, The Mourning Forest, Ninja Kids!!!, Sawako Decides, Sukiyaki Western Django, Sway, Sketches of Kaitan City, The Tale of Iya, and United Red Army.
The Japan Society Film Program offers a diverse selection of Japanese films, from classics to contemporary independent productions, including retrospectives, thematic repertory film series, and U.S. premiere screenings. Its aim is to entertain, educate, and support activities in the Society's arts and culture programs. More at www.japansociety.org/programs/film.
Founded in 1907, Japan Society is a multidisciplinary hub for global leaders, artists, scholars, educators, and English and Japanese-speaking audiences. At the Society, more than 100 events each year feature sophisticated, topically relevant presentations of Japanese art and culture and open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia. An American nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, the Society cultivates a constructive, resonant and dynamic relationship between the people of the U.S. and Japan.
Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 and 7 subway at Grand Central or the E and M subway at Lexington Avenue). For more information, call 212-832-1155 or visit www.japansociety.org.
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