By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.
The largest festival of contemporary Japanese cinema in North America, this year’s JAPAN CUTS at Japan Society serves up 42 films from July 19-28, featuring more than 20 guest filmmakers and talent in person for daily post-screening Q&As.
“This 13th edition of JAPAN CUTS provides testament to the continued vitality of contemporary Japanese cinema with a wide array of films by emerging filmmakers who dare to take formal and thematic risks,” says Kazu Watanabe, Japan Society Deputy Director of Film.
“They are paired with a roster of veteran directors who similarly began their career in the spirit of creative innovation and who continue to expand their vision in new directions,” he continues. “Together, they tackle stories about existential ennui, class conflict and social discrimination through a range of filmmaking practices that continually subvert expectations and expand our notion of what Japanese cinema is.”
The Opening Film on July 19 is the U.S. premiere of Can’t Stop the Dancing, an office comedy-road trip-musical directed by Waterboys helmer Shinobu Yaguchi, featuring a breakout performance by star Ayaka Miyoshi. The festival’s Centerpiece Presentation on July 24 is the East Coast premiere of Killing, a subversive samurai drama and meditation on the nature of violence by internationally renowned cult director Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man), who will be presented with the 2019 CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film prior to the screening. Tsukamoto will also introduce a special 35mm presentation of his 1998 black-and-white classic Bullet Ballet on July 25.
The Closing Film on July 28 is the North American premiere of director Yuko Hakota’s remarkable debut feature Blue Hour, a comedic drama about rural homecoming and reinvention starring festival guests Kaho and Eun-kyung Shim.
For more information and tickets, visit www.japansociety.org/JAPANCUTS.