With Japan Cuts days away I normally take time about now and wax poetic about the festival and the wonderful films they are screening. However, because the film gods are messing with us mortals they have bumped it up against not just the New York Asian Film Festival, its normal companion in the film year but also Fantasia Fest in Montreal, The Asian American International Film Fest and Chain Film Festivals in New York as well as Dances with Films in LA. This means I have had time to watch a whole bunch of films but I have not had time to do a proper curtain raiser.
Now before the Japan Society blasts me into space I do want to say that I'm going to be covering most of the films at the festival this year, however I am skipping a few because they just didn't appeal to me. (Yes I know it's a mistake because the best films at Japan Cuts tend to be the ones off your radar)
The festival is a hybrid. There are a few in person screening and a lot more that are streaming the whole festival- so go search the slate and buy tickets.
I do want to say because the festival overlapped Fantasia I have already run several reviews already
The reality is I've liked every film I've seen from the fest except one so it's a no brainer to simply say buy tickets and watch. However if you need a few films to be pointed to beyond ITS A SUMMER FILM here are a few more:
GREAT YOKAI WAR GAURDIANS-Takashi Miike's sequel is not perfect but it has hundreds of monsters that will delight the 5 year old in you. It also has a moment that hit me like Iron Giant choosing to be Superman
LABYRINTH OF CINEMA- Obayashi's final film was available for steaming last year at the purely virtual Japan Cuts but the masterpiece needs to be seen on a big screen
THE PASS:THE LAST DAYS OF THE SAMURAI- masterful portrait of a samurai trying to avoid war and finding he has no choice. An atypical film from a director who doesn't do what we expect.
HIUKO THE GOBLIN Shinya Tsukamoto often over looked follow up to Tetsuo the Iron Man is a wild and crazy film of a different sort
DOUBLE LAYERED TOWN/MAKING A SONG TO REPLACE OUR POSITIONS is an experimental mix of narrative, documentary and essay that is impossible to full describe. It will not be for everyone but for those who click it will be a one of a kind cinema experience
NO SMOKING portrait of musician Haruomi Hosono is something magical. This is a film you will want to watch repeatedly until you can get to iTunes and download all his music. One of my favorites of this year's festival
And now back to watching movies.
Do yourself a favor and buy some tickets- you will not be disappointed. Tickets here