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Festivals: Japan Cuts

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Japan Cuts 2018 Interview: BLEACH Director Sato Shinsuke on Shinigami, Samurai, and Special Effects

In the crowded world of movie adaptations of Japanese manga, Director Sato Shinsuke has carved a high place for himself, helming critically-lauded live-action versions of Gantz, I Am A Hero, 2016’s Death Note, and Inuyashiki.  Sato-san set himself quite a...

Japan Cuts Interview: Cut Above Award Winner Kirin Kiki on Living Life and Art on Her Own Terms

In a career that spans over half a century, Kirin Kiki is the epitome of the late-blooming rose.  From wild, comedic parts early in her career, to the wry, scene-stealing elder roles that won her awards later in life, Kirin-san...

Japan Cuts 2018 Interview: HANAGATAMI Star Kubozuka Shunsuke on a Story of Youth During Wartime

Hanagatami, the latest work from director Obayashi Nobuhiko, is a fever dream of youth during wartime.  Solidly surreal and sweating with sexual tension, the auteur cast his story of teenagers with actors in their twenties, thirties and forties.     At...

Japan Cuts 2018 Interview: KUSHINA Director Hayami Moët, Star Hirota Tomona and DP Muramatsu Ryo Create a Secret World of Women

An invasion of a secret world of women sets the stage for high tension in Director Hayami Moët’s Kushina, what you will be.  At Japan Cuts, director Hayami, star Hirota Tomona, and cinematographer Ryo Muramatsu spoke with LMD about the...

Japan Cuts 2018 Interview: THICKER THAN WATER Director Yoshida Keisuke Talks Sibling Rivalry

In director Yoshida Keisuke’s Thicker Than Water, sibling rivalry lasts far beyond the playground.  At Japan Cuts, director Yoshida spoke with LMD about family ties, jealousy, and sadistically teasing the audience.   The Lady Miz Diva:  As with most of...

Japan Cuts 2018 Interview: Actor/Filmmaker Saitoh Takumi on Life on Both Sides of the Camera With BLANK 13 and RAMEN SHOP

Beginning his career as a model at age 15, Saitoh Takumi has made his mark as an actor, singer, photographer, radio host, and blog writer.    Because he wasn’t busy enough, Saitoh graced the Japan Cuts film festival with a...

Japan Cuts 2018 Interview: DREAM OF ILLUMINATION Director Sawada Thunder, Star Takagawa Yuya, Producer Kitaki Kazuyuki on a Changing Japan

Atmospheric and haunting, director Sawada Thunder’s Dream of Illumination, tells a story of a Japan that is changing, whether it wants to, or not.  At Japan Cuts, Director Sawada, star Takagawa Yuya, and Producer Kitaki Kazuyuki, spoke to me about...

Japan Cuts 2018 Sneak Peek: New Work from Naomi Kawase Leads an Eclectic Slate

Summer in New York City means Japan Society presenting another round of delish contemporary Japanese films, ranging from the weird and macabre, to the sincere and bubblegum apeshit insane! It's all happening, starting today, July 19, and roaring until July...

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...