Japan Society’s Film Festival to Begin July 7

Two weeks. Thirty-two films. Every conceivable genre. The latest in Japanese cinema today.

Japan Cuts 2011: The New York Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema, the Japan Society‘s exuberant showcase of the diversity of Japanese film, runs from Thursday, July 7 until Friday, July 22.

Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha: The Great Departure kicks off Japan Cuts 2011 © 2011 “Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha” production committee 13

“A substantial number of titles this year can’t be easily categorized or confined to strict genre boundaries,” says Samuel Jamier, Japan Society’s chief film programmer and curator of Japan Cuts 2011, “but all faithfully and artfully translate the intricacies, tragedies and boundless possibilities of being human on the big screen.”

Of the 32 films  – the most in the festival’s five-year run – all but one are making some kind of premiere, be it internationally, in North America, or in New York. There is truly something for everyone in this series: Family-friendly, mainstream, art house, comedy, splatter, and even erotic films dot the lineup. Whatever the genre, there is one common thread that brings the festival together. “In light of the tragic events following the March 11 earthquake in Japan, this fifth edition of Japan Cuts shows the resilience and vibrancy of one of the longest-standing film industries,” says Jamier.

Mei Kurokawa of Yakuza Weapon © 2011 Sushi Typhoon/ Nikkatsu

The Japan Society will hold Q&A sessions with some filmmakers and host three parties in conjunction with the festival. On Saturday, July 9 directors Tak Sakaguchi and Yudai Yamaguchi will introduce their film, Yakuza Weapon, one of ten films co-presented with the New York Asian Film Festival. The screening will be followed by a Q&A and an after party at the Japan Society. If this after party is anything like last year’s Sushi Typhoon, it will certainly be a treat.

Another film co-presented in association with NYAFF, Milocrorze: A Love Story, will feature an introduction and Q&A with director Yoshimasa Ishibashi on Sunday, July 10. Director Masashi Yamamoto and actress Sora Aoi from the festival’s centerpiece film, Three☆Points, will be present for an introduction, Q&A, and after party on Friday, July 15. On Saturday, July 16 both Kentaro Moriya and Natsuki Seta, directors of The Seaside Motel and A Liar and a Broken Girl, respectively, will conduct Q&A sessions after their films.

Miho Fujima, and Sora Aoi of Three☆Points © Three☆Points Syndicate 2011

On Wednesday, July 20 director Masahiro Kobayashi and producer Naoko Kobayashi will be on hand for the New York premiere of Haru’s Journey, a film shot entirely in northern Japan, the area hardest hit by the earthquake on March 11. The Kobayashis will make a statement in honor of the victims of the disaster, and the screening will be followed by a reception. Fifty percent of the proceeds of Haru’s Journey will go to the Japan Society’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.

Tatsuya Nakadai and Eri Tokunaga of Haru’s Journey © 2010 “Haru To No Tabi” Film Partners

The festival ends on Friday, July 22 with the international premiere of Into the White Night, followed by a closing night blowout party to be held at an offsite location to be determined.

Tickets for each screening are $12/$9 Japan Society members, students, and seniors; and $16/$12 for the July 8 and July 15 screenings with after parties (Into the White Night‘s screening/closing party is regular price). Tickets can be purchased in person at the Japan Society at 333 East 47th Street, through the box office at 212.715.1258, or online at www.japansociety.org. The price for the Gantz double-feature special is $20/$14 for both films, available only in person or by calling the box office. Those purchasing more than five tickets for at least five different films receive $2 off each ticket, but you must call the box office or make your purchase in person.

Takayuki Yamada (center) of Milocrorze- A Love Story © 2011 “Milocroze” Film Partners


Japan Cuts 2011 schedule:

Thursday, July 7

  • 6:45 – Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha: The Great Departure
  • 9:00 – Ringing in Their Ears


Friday, July 8

  • 7:00 – Love & Loathing & Lulu & Ayano
  • 9:15 – Battle Royale


Saturday, July 9

  • 12:30 – Gantz: The Movie, Part 1
  • 3:00 – Gantz, Part II: Perfect Answer
  • 6:00 – Ninja Kids!!!
  • 8:15 – Yakuza Weapon with Q&A and After Party


Sunday, July 10

  • 12:30 – Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha: The Great Departure
  • 2:45 – Heaven’s Story
  • 8:00 – Milocrorze: A Love Story with Q&A


Tuesday, July 12

  • 6:30 – Sword of Desperation
  • 9:00 – The Last Ronin


Wednesday, July 13

  • 6:30 – Rinco’s Restaurant
  • 9:00 – Birthright (a.k.a. Umbilical Cord)


Thursday, July 14

  • 6:30 – Rail Truck
  • 9:00 – Yuki and Nina


Friday, July 15

  • 6:15 – Toilet
  • 8:30 – Three☆Points with Q&A and After Party


Saturday, July 16

  • 2:30 – Love Addiction
  • 4:30 – The Seaside Motel with Q&A
  • 7:15 – A Liar and a Broken Girl with Q&A
  • 10:30 – Love and Treachery


Sunday, July 17

  • 2:30 – The Knot
  • 4:00 – Torso
  • 6:15 – Strangers in the City
  • 9:00 – A Night in Nude: Salvation


Tuesday, July 19

  • 6:30 – Sketches of Kaitan City
  • 9:30 – Control Tower


Wednesday, July 20

  • 7:00 – Haru’s Journey with Q&A and reception


Thursday, July 21

  • 7:00 – Vengeance Can Wait
  • 9:00 – Wandering Home


Friday, July 22

  • 7:00 – Into the White Night with Closing Party (Location TBA)

For more information about each film, go to http://www.japansociety.org/japancuts.