Festivals: Japan Cuts

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Japan Cuts 2019 Interview: BLUE HOUR's Shim Eun-kyung on Crossing Into Japanese Cinema

Debuting at age nine, Shim Eun-kyung went on to become one of South Korea’s most bankable actresses, starring in hit television dramas, and box office blockbusters like Sunny and Miss Granny.  Moved by her love of Japanese cinema, Shim immigrated...

Japan Cuts 2019 Interview: Director Toyoda Toshiaki Talks Quiet Rebellion in THE MIRACLE OF CRYBABY SHOTTAN

The films of Toyoda Toshiaki are known for their brash and exciting style, laced with acid takes on society.  Returning to the big screen after four years with The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan, director Toyoda shows his quieter, more contemplative...

Japan Cuts 2019 Interview: Director Tezka Macoto on Rediscovering THE LEGEND OF THE STARDUST BROTHERS

In 1985, director Tezka Macoto released a singular send-up of the Japanese entertainment industry.  The Legend of the Stardust Brothers was a moussed and glittering New Wave-tastic mélange of mediums; from music, to fashion, to animation -- with zombies!  So...

Japan Cuts 2019 Interview: Cut Above Winner Tsukamoto Shinya Talks KILLING and TETSUO: THE IRON MAN

From his beginnings as a 14-year-old with a Super 8 camera, to his latest film, KILLING; a twist on the classic samurai movie, Tsukamoto Shinya has always blazed his own cinematic path.     Receiving Japan Cuts 2019 Cut Above award...

Japan Cuts 2019 Interview: HIS LOST NAME Director Hirose Nanako Uncovers Dark Truths

His Lost Name is the story of a young man whose mysterious presence in a small town engenders willing deceptions, and reveals uncomfortable truths.  At Japan Cuts 2019, director Hirose Nanako spoke exclusively with LMD about creating her first feature...

Japan Cuts 2019 Interview: DEMOLITION GIRL Director Matsugami Genta, Star Kitai Aya Talk Teenage Crushing

Demolition Girl places a coming-of-age story against the backdrop of the sketchy world of fetish videos.  At Japan Cuts 2019, LMD had an exclusive chat with director Matsugami Genta and actress Kitai Aya, who has a standout performance as the...

Japan Cuts 2019 Preview: Dance the Summer Away With Great New Films

"New York, New York, a helluva town!" So declare the lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, set to music by Leonard Bernstein, in On the Town (1944), and it applies equally well today to the city that will host...

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...