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Festivals: Japan Cuts

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Japan Cuts 2017 Interview: Cut Above Winner, Superstar Odagiri Joe on Acting and International Collaborations

One of his country’s most sought-after and exciting actors, Odagiri Joe has made a career pushing the boundaries of Japanese cinema.  Fearless in his choice of roles and unhesitant about working overseas, Odagiri spoke with me about his motivations as...

Japan Cuts 2017 Interview: IN THIS CORNER OF THE WORLD Producer Maki Taro on Its Risks and Meaning

In This Corner of the World is already a blockbuster hit in its native Japan.  Japan Cuts hosted the US premiere of the film and I had a chance to chat with its producer, Maki Taro, about the risks and...

Japan Cuts 2017 Interview: Director Miyazaki Daisuke on YAMATO (CALIFORNIA)'s Political and Musical Inspirations and Implications

For his second feature film, Miyazaki Daisuke decided to turn his camera to his home town.  Setting a young rapper’s search for her own voice through the incessant roar of a neighboring US military base, Director Miyazaki and I chatted...

Japan Cuts 2017 Interview: Sahel Rosa on Breaking Taboos in WEST NORTH WEST

West North West’s bold, intimate study of three ladies brought together by attraction, yet isolated by race, religion and sexuality, features knockout performances by its leads.  Model, actress and television personality, Sahel Rosa spoke with me candidly about the challenges...

Japan Cuts 2017 Interview: Kan Hanae on Sex and Religion in WEST NORTH WEST and Unleashing Rap Fury in YAMATO (CALIFORNIA)

Having begun her acting career at age 10 in the hands of legendary Japanese director Suzuki Seijun, Kan Hanae has never stopped working.  Attending Japan Cuts, with not one, but two films, Kan spoke with me about the challenges of...

Japan Cuts 2017 Review: THE TOKYO NIGHT SKY IS ALWAYS THE DENSEST SHADE OF BLUE, A Maudlin if Earnest Tale

Like its long, declarative title, Ishii Yuya's new film is a curious work that stumbles towards earnestness. Sometimes it is poetic and ponderous. At other times it is just plain tedious and twee.

Japan Cuts 2017 Preview: A Country at a Crossroads and the Movies at the Heart of it All

Japan Cuts: The Festival of New Japanese Film comes roaring back to life for another season of fresh flicks with the ninja-samurai action epic MUMON: The Land of Stealth kicking things off July 13 at the Japan Society in New...

Japan Cuts 2017: Lineup includes Sono's ANTI-PORNO and Joe Odagiri in Person!

The 11th edition of North America's preeminent festival for contemporary Japanese Cinema slices into frame July 13 - 23 at Japan Society in New York City. Today, we have the full lineup of films and guests, including this years Cut...

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...