Sunday, July 7, 2024

Japan Cuts 2024 Starts This Week

This Wednesday the Japan Society’s Japan Cuts starts and we are better for it.

Bringing some of the best and unheralded Japanese films from the last year to the streets of New York. It’s a festival I discovered years ago when everyone at a rival film fest NYAFF mentioned that I should be going to see the films that were playing there.  I did and ever since I have been wading into the fray.

While I follow what is happening at the Japan Society, I am notoriously not covering the films there as much as I should. However while I do bits and pieces through the year I always dive in to Cuts and do as many films as possible simply because they have so many great films, most of which I never heard of until the screening.

This is one of the best festivals every year. It’s a fest that has never disappointed me, and always surprises me in in the best sort of way. Need an example? I had no hope for WHALE BONES because it is from the co-writer of DRIVE MY CAR which disappointed me. However because it’s at Cuts I gave it a try and I ended up loving it.

What makes the festival rock is that the people at the Japan Society care about everyone attending. If you have a question, they’ll answer it. Need help? They will help you. They are like a big hug from a family member you never knew you had.

I love this festival and the people who run it.

You need to buy lots of tickets and go. (Information here)

If you need direction as to what to see may I make a few suggestions: 

SHIN GODZILLA – whether in black and white or color, this is one of the best Godzilla films ever made. Sure it doesn’t have a ton of monster scenes (some people I know dislike the film because it’s about people) but it still kicks ass and won the Japanese equivalent of the Oscar for Best Picture.

THE BOX MAN- sure the central notion that we are all living in our own boxes is obvious, but what legendary director Gakuryu Ishii does beyond that is stunning. It is probably his best film of his 44 plus year career and  it just shows how under appreciate he is. (And while you’re at it also see his WATER IN AUGUST, a classic from 30ish years ago that still rocks)

WHALE BONE from Takamas Oe who co-wrote DRIVE MY CAR is a hell of a ride. A film that requires you stay to the very end because what it is and what you feel about it changes as the story goes on, it is filmmaking of the highest order.

ALL THE LONG NIGHTS is a film that will live in your heart forever. The story of two broken individuals who find a way to fix themselves through a friendship it is a film free of false drama and infused with life. A must see.

KADONO EIKO'S COLORFUL LIFE is a glorious look at the woman who wrote Kiki's Delivery Service and at 88 keeps going.

LOOK BACK left me a sobbing mess. The story of two women who bond over a love of comics is a story of creating because you have to and what happens when you find someone who shares your passion. I lived much of this. A must see.

They are sold out but if you can score tickets to either SHADOW OF FIRE or KUBI do so.  They are the new works by two of Japan's greatest filmmakers. But be warned they will kick you to the curb.

Also Shorts Collection Two has the first film from master animator Rinatro in 10 years. It’s a film that ponders what a great director from the 30’s had made a film about a rogue. Trust me it’s something wonderful (and not like his earlier films)

For tickets and more information go here

No comments:

Post a Comment