The Final Week of Japan Cuts: Teenage Love, Bleak Existences, & a Familial Journey

Friday’s after party for the screening of ThreePoints was attended by indie director Masashi Yamamoto and adult film star Sora Aoi – and more men at the Japan Society at one time. ThreePoints is a sprawling film, two parts documentary and one part fiction. Yamamoto interspersed the stories of nefarious rappers in Kyoto (“I have a friend in Kyoto, so I decided to shoot there,” says Yamamoto) and American GIs waiting to get tattoos at a yakuza-run shop in Kin Town, Okinawa (“Okinawa is beautiful, so I shot there,” says Yamamoto). In the third “point” of the film, Aoi plays a young professional with a split personality. Aoi’s bubbly personality was on display Friday night, as the actress smiled and gave the peace sign to audience members taking pictures.

Sora Aoi (far right) poses for pictures during Q&A on Friday night
Sora Aoi and Masashi Yamamoto (far right) at the Three Points after party

Japan Cuts enters its final week on Tuesday, July 19 with six films ranging in theme from the buoyancy of teenage love to the despair of alcoholism. The festival’s final film, Into the White Night, is already sold out.

Kaitan City 3/ Kaoru Kobayashi, Kaho Minami - Sketches of Kaitan City ©2010 "Sketches of Kaitan City" Production Committee

Sketches of Kaitan City

The five vignettes in this film highlight the bleak existences of residents of Kaitan City, an industrial (and fictional) town based on Hakodate, Hokkaido:

  • A brother and sister whose lives revolve around the city’s shipbuilding industry
  • Toki, an elderly woman who steadfastly refuses to leave her squalid house, which sits on land the city wants to develop
  • A lonely planetarium worker with an uncaring son and a wife whose hostess job is more important than her family
  • The president of a gas supply company and his unstable wife, who physically abuses their son
  • A train driver who is estranged from his son

The common thread throughout the movie is the impending closing of one of the docks, which is scheduled to happen around Christmas.


Ai Hashimoto, Kento Yamazaki - Control Tower © 2011 Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc./ SME Records Inc.

Control Tower

Also set in Hokkaido, this film is inspired by the song “Control Tower” by the rock band Galileo Galilei. Beautiful stars Kento Yamazaki and Ai Hashimoto play teens who form a bond through their common love of music.


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

Haru’s Journey

Haru’s Journey is a film about growing up and growing old. Prolific Japanese actor Tatsuya Nakadai plays a curmudgeonly grandfather on the road with his granddaughter (Eri Tokunaga) in a film that twitchfilm says “will break your heart many times over.” Read Dustin Chang’s review here.

Director Masahiro Kobayashi will introduce the film and participate in a Q&A afterward. 50% of proceeds from Haru’s Journey, which was shot in northeastern Japan, will go to the Japan Society’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.


Takayuki Yamada, Eiko Koike, Minami - Vengeance Can Wait © 2010"Vengeance Can Wait"Film Partners

Vengeance Can Wait

A couple pretending to be brother and sister live together in a small room with a bunk bed. When a former classmate – who holds a grudge against the “sister” – moves into the neighborhood, their relationship is exposed.


Hiromi Nagasaku, Kurea Mori, Yosuke Fujioka, Tadanobu Asano - Wandering Home © 2010 SIGLO, VAP, Bitters End

Wandering Home

The grip of alcoholism strangles not only the alcoholic, but everyone who cares for him as well. The binge drinking Yasuyuki, who was once a wartime photographer, is in the hospital, prompting his ex-wife to return.


Tickets for each screening are $12/$9 Japan Society members, students, and seniors. 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 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.


Japan Cuts 2011 remaining schedule:

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 (SOLD OUT!)