Sunday, July 9, 2017

Japan Cuts starts Thursday

Japan Cuts starts Thursday night and anyone who is going is in for a real treat. I’ve been covering the festival since 2009 and I think this is the best year yet.

Japan Cuts has always been a great look at a side of Japanese cinema that most of us never sees. I know it has had its up and downs, owing in large part to the quirks of Japanese cinema such as their making lots of really good films that tie into TV series that most people outside of Japan know nothing about or moody studios. Yet somehow the Japan Society always manages to give us some wonderful films to see and enjoy.

Frankly this maybe the best year of the festival yet. As this posts I’ve seen 24 of the film festivals 29 features and all the shorts and I have no problem saying just go to whatever interests you. While there are films that I don’t care for (how could there not be) there are no films that I don’t think belong at the festival

While I have seen a chunk of the films already I am going to be seeing three more films at screenings and I have some feelers out and may have reports coming in from various Unseen people so by the time it all ends we should get you word on everything.

What are my recommendations?

Sion Sono’s ANTIPORNO is an uncomfortable look at sex films that was made as part of Nikkatsu‘s restart of their Roman Porno films. It’s a smack in the face of the sort than only Sono can deliver. If you want your expectations subverted go

AT THE TERRACE is a bit too tied to its stage origins but this film plays like a Neil Simon comedy of manners directed by Luis  Bunuel making for an intriguing comedy.

OVER THE FENCE is not what you expect and we are better for it. The story of a man trying to restart his life will surprise and delight you even as it makes you feel uncomfortably close to the characters pain. It’s a film that has grown in the reflection of the three weeks since I saw it. A great film.

A WHALE OF A TALE is one of the best documentaries of the year. A stunning look at the town at the center of the Oscar winning film THE COVE. WHALE OF A TALE gives a more balanced view of events depicted in the earlier film and makes you rethink what you thought you knew while making you reconsider how you see all documentaries.

IN THIS CORNER OF THE WORLD is visually one of the most beautiful animated films of the year. While I’m not certain the film holds together the way it should, the individual sections are all masterpieces. The one set in Hiroshima will leave you breathless.

The short- WE ARE SHOOTING is a joy. One of the great films on film it was a real kick. It alone makes seeing the shorts collection worth seeing.
For tickets and more information go to the Japan Society webpage

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