Festivals: Japan Cuts

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Japan Cuts 2016 Interview: Cut Above Award Winner Lily Franky on THE SHELL COLLECTOR

Novelist, illustrator, scriptwriter, radio host, and even as a singer, Lily Franky mastered many arts before his muse called him to become one of Japan’s most popular character actors.  Receiving Japan Cuts’ Cut Above award, Franky spoke with me about...

Japan Cuts 2016 Interview: THE ACTOR Director Yokohama Satoko on Walking the Tightrope Between Art and Entertainment

After her surreal exploration of country life, Bare Essence of Life (aka Ultra Miracle Love Story) screened at Japan Cuts in 2010, director Yokohama Satoko visits this year’s festival with The Actor, a triptastic peek into the mind and soul of...

Japan Cuts 2016 Interview: NAGASAKI: MEMORIES OF MY SON Composer Sakamoto Ryuichi on Oshima and Bertolucci

Artist, innovator, Oscar-winner, and genius are only some of the words used to describe Sakamoto Ryuichi. Since his groundbreaking debut in 1977 with his group, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Sakamoto has changed the face of modern music. He has lent his...

Japan Cuts 2016 Interview: One Hitoshi on the Mysterious World of Mangaka with BAKUMAN

After his exuberant hit Love Strikes excited the 2012 festival, director One Hitoshi visited Japan Cuts with Bakuman, his rousing and heartfelt take on the mysterious, misunderstood world of the manga artist.  One spoke with me about CG battles and...

Japan Cuts 2016 Interview: Maeda Atsuko Talks THE MOHICAN COMES HOME

Graduated from her best-known role as the first breakout star of Japan’s phenomenally popular all-girl singing group, AKB48, Maeda Atsuko has gone from strength to strength in the acting world, in films directed by the likes of Miike Takashi, Nakata...

Japan Cuts 2016 Interview: THE MOHICAN COMES HOME Director Okita Shûichi on Celebrating the Everyman

The director of such award-winning films as The Woodsman and the Rain and A Story of Yonosuke, Okita Shûichi brings his latest, The Mohican Comes Home, a warm and unexpectedly humourous story of a family coping with illness, to the...

Preview: Japan Cuts 2016, As Dynamic as Ever

Japan Cuts, Japan Society's annual festival of contemporary Japanese cinema, turns 10 this year. What the value of a film festival is may seem easy to talk about in terms of age and program focus. It  can also be hard...

Japan Cuts 2016 Turns 10, With Major Stars, Parties, Lots Of Sono Sion, An Android Actor, And More

Japan Cuts, North America’s premier festival of contemporary Japanese film, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, screening at Japan Society July 14-24. It’s hard to believe it’s already been 10 years for this always exciting, challenging, and stimulating festival, a...

Japan Cuts 2015 Interview: Kudoh Youki Talks Working With Jim Jarmusch And THIS COUNTRY'S SKY

From her days as a teenage pop idol, to her unforgettable turn in Jim Jarmusch's landmark, Mystery Train, and being one of the few saving graces in Memoirs of a Geisha, Kudoh Youki has blazed a trail in the international...

Japan Cuts 2015 Interview: THIS COUNTRY'S SKY Director Arai Haruhiko Talks His Life During Wartime Drama

Screenwriter turned director Arai Haruhiko visits Japan Cuts with his life-during-wartime drama, This Country's Sky. Starring Kudoh Youki and festival favorite Nikaido Fumi as a mother and daughter surviving in the last days of World War II, Director Arai, along...

Japan Cuts 2015 Interview: Ando Sakura Talks ASLEEP, 100 YEN LOVE And The Cut Above Award

Her brilliant performances for some of her country's most notable directors have made Ando Sakura one of Japan's most formidable actors.  Here in New York to receive Japan Cuts' Cut Above award, Ando spoke with me about her festival films,...

Japan Cuts 2015 Interview: THE VOICE OF WATER, Director Yamamoto Masashi Explores The Lure Of Cults, And Blending Fact And Fiction

Having appeared at Japan Cuts previously with his film, Three☆Points, director Yamamoto Masashi returns with his look at the lure of cults and spiritual awakening in his latest film, The Voice of Water. Director Yamamoto spoke with us about blending...

Japan Cuts 2015 Interview: OUT OF MY HAND Director Fukunaga Takeshi Explores The Liberian Immigrant Experience

One of Japan Cuts' more unusual offerings is the story of a Liberian immigrant living in New York, directed by a Japanese immigrant living in New York. Already fêted at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film...

Japan Cuts 2015 Interview: ROUND TRIP HEART, Director Tanada Yuki Goes Off The Beaten Path

The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky was one of Japan Cuts 2013's most-buzzed about offerings. The director of that film, Tanada Yuki, visits the festival this year with her latest feature, Round Trip Heart, a beautiful road trip around...

Japan Cuts 2015 Review: THIS COUNTRY'S SKY, Love And Coming of Age In A Time Of War

In the 70 years since the end of World War II - or, more precisely, what will be 70 years this August - there have been countless cinematic depictions of the war, covered from just about every possible angle. Some...

Japan Cuts 2015 Interview: Director Irie Yu Talks HIBI ROCK And JOKER GAME

Since his 2009 love letter to hip-hop, 8000 Miles screened at Japan Cuts, director Irie Yu has remained a festival favourite. This year, Irie brings us two films, Hibi Rock: Puke Afro and the Pop Star, starring the excellent Nikaido Fumi,...

Japan Cuts 2015 Review: PIETA IN THE TOILET, A Cancer Story Told With Poetic Artistry

Pieta in the Toilet, the first fictional feature by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Matsunaga Daishi, is a two-hour drama about a young man who's dying of cancer. But fortunately, this film proves to not be nearly as depressing as that description...

Preview: Japan Cuts 2015 Rocks

North America's largest film festival for contemporary Japanese cinema is back for its 9th edition, taking place at the Japan Society in New York City, July 9 - 19.Dustin Chang and Christopher Bourne, our intrepid vets of the fest, bring...

Japan Cuts 2014: Kitamura Kazuki Talks KILLERS, MAN FROM RENO And NEKO SAMURAI

Beginning his career as one of Takashi Miike's go-tos in films like The Way to Fight and The Man in White, hitting his stride in Ryuhei Kitamura's Azumi and Godzilla: Final Wars, and even turning up as one of the...

NY Asian/Japan Cuts 2014 Interview: UZUMASA LIMELIGHT Captures the True Dying Art of Samurai Cinema's Kirare-Yaku

Uzumasa Limelight is a love letter to the unsung heroes of samurai cinema, the kirare-yaku; the team of actors whose job is to die spectacularly on screen, as seen through the fictional eyes of one of its true artists.  We...