Justin’s Japan: Week Three of JAPAN CUTS 2012 Blasts Off with ‘Space Battleship Yamato’ Premiere

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

Japan Society’s annual JAPAN CUTS festival winds down this week with a sensational lineup of cinema and stars. The DON’T STOP! JAPAN CUTS Party follows the July 26 screening of Don’t Stop!, featuring an introduction with director Kenji Kohashi.and Leonie director Hisako Matsui for the July 27 screening introduction and Q&A.

DON’T STOP! documents the journey of “CAP,” a hard-as-nails 46-year-old man who realizes his lifelong dream, to go to America and ride a Harley down Route 66. CAP’s love affair with America and motorcycles began when he was young, but when he was 26, a traffic accident immobilized his left hand and lower body. Over the next 20 years, much of his life has been spent either in bed or in a wheelchair. In a 10-day, 4200 km trip across the U.S., encounters and miracles happen along the way to breathe fresh life into CAP and his friends.

Other highlights include Toshiaki Toyoda’s enigmatic terrorist art house gem Monsters Club (July 25); tthe world premiere of moral shocker Ushijima the Loan Shark (July 25), which features the impressive film debut of AKB48’s Yuko Oshima (recipient of the festival’s first-ever Cut Above Award for Outstanding Debut); Hisako Matsui’s haunting docudrama Leonie (July 27); and climaxes with the North American premiere of one of the highest-grossing Japanese films of all time, Space Battleship Yamato (July 28).

For this week’s list of films, click here.