A Preview of Japan Cuts Hollywood 2019

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JAPAN CUTS Hollywood is a 3-day film festival organised in cooperation with JAPAN CUTS in New York. There is a unique slate of titles different from the New York fest (except for Melancholic) and some short films and a History Channel documentary called Defending Japan. Guests will also be in attendance.

Here’s what is programmed:

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A Preview of Japan Cuts 2019 (JULY 19–28)

Japan Cuts 2019 is back with its annual showcase of the latest in Japanese films carefully curated by its team of programmers. It is due to kick off in New York in a month’s time and runs from JULY 19–28. The selection looks good and there’s a handy trailer to build up anticipation by revealing a glimpse of all the films on offer!

There is a distinctly youthful and fresh feeling to the roster of directors and writers as well as the stories they tell. Lots of directors are, or were, making their debuts after cutting their teeth in various production roles or they are at the indie end of the spectrum and under-exposed on the festival circuit. Then there is a lot of youth-oriented stories with a lot of coming-of-age tales. That’s not to say that the older generations are forgotten as a documentary and some legendary filmmakers are also on board with Shinya Tsukamoto in New York to show Bullet Ballet as well as his latest film Killing and there is also a doc called I Go Gaga, My Dear about an elderly couple which is getting a lot of play at different fests so that’s a good sign. I’ve seen quite a few of these films, mostly at this year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival, and so I’ll put links to my reviews if you want to read them.

Some of these films are going to be accompanied by directors and actors and a full list plus bios can be found here. This year’s recipient of the CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film is Shinya Tsukamoto, one of the first directors I went and wrote a biography for and reviewed a whole bunch of his films (my favourite being Vital). He is just one of many guests so please check the official website to find out more.

All information comes from old trailer posts and the JAPAN CUTS website.

Here is what has been programmed!

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Toward a Common Tenderness あの優しさへ Dir: Kaori Oda (2017)

Toward a Common Tenderness

あの優しさへ Ano Yasashi-sa e

Running Time: 63 mins.

Release Date: N/A

Director:  Kaori Oda

Writer: N/A

Starring: N/A

Director Kaori Oda uses her film Towards A Common Tenderness to explore the way that cinema can be used to depict the space and feelings between people, how the camera has the power to understand and destroy what is recorded, the ethics of film-making, and her own personal journey as a film-maker.

Originally from Osaka, Oda moved to Virginia where she studied film at Hollins University. She made her debut with the short Thus a Noise Speaks (2010), a self-documentary about her coming out as gay to her family which won the Audience Award at the Nara International Film Festival. Following this came a period where she faced a creative and personal impasse which resulted in her travelling to Sarajevo to study at Béla Tarr’s film.factory film workshop from 2013 to 2016. Whilst studying she made a few shorts and then created her first feature-length film Aragane (2015) which depicted work inside a coal mine. It made waves at documentary festivals around the world due to its impressionistic form which Oda created by focussing on using the senses to convey the space in the mine rather than approaching the subject solely through more conventional means such as an analysis of class. Her time in Bosnia proved to be beneficial as a way of overcoming personal and professional questions over using her family as the subject of her debut film. With a wealth of experience and footage to root through, Oda dives into this issue, sinuously and seamlessly pulling together many threads to create a smooth stream of images and sounds in an exploration of her own character and creative urges as she makes herself the subject.

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A Preview of Japan Cuts 2018 (JULY 19–29)

Japan Cuts 2018 is due to kick off in New York soon! This is the 12th edition of the festival which screens the largest collection of contemporary Japanese films in North America. It runs from JULY 19–29 and there is everything from indies to blockbusters, anime to documentaries and short films, and lots of off-screen action like parties, live music and more over a 10-day festival.

Trailer!

The full list of films can be found here and some features are preceded by short films. There is an impressive list of films covering a variety of topics from refugee-life to the fight for equality by people facing discrimination due to sexual orientation, the desire to create new worlds by travelling to places mainstream films never go, to a much-anticipated adaptation of a popular manga/anime. These films are made by people from different backgrounds and the guests at the festival include a lot of female filmmakers, proving that Japan is a hotbed of talent from all sorts of places.

There will be many guests including legendary screen veteran Kirin Kiki who will receive the 2018 CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Performance in Film.

Here is what has been programmed!

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A Preview of the Films at Japan Cuts 2017 (July 13th-23rd)

The 2017 edition of JAPAN CUTS, is the 11th since the creation of the festival and it takes place from July 13th to the 23rd.

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It is one of the best places not in Germany (Nippon Connection) or Holland (Camera Japan) to see the latest and most interesting contemporary films with experimental indies programmed alongside big-budget titles, as well as documentaries, shorts and recently restored classics. Not only is this a place to view films, the festival also hosts special guest filmmakers and stars, post-screening Q&As, parties and more. I have covered it in the past to help people get in contact with great films and this year’s edition has lots of great titles on offer that show the diversity of talents operating in the country and reveal that, contrary to what I have felt recently, the Japanese film industry has the potential to tell more than the same stories over and over (if only Japanese financiers could see beyond adapting manga and anime and take risks). Here’s more from the organisers of the festival:

For ten years, JAPAN CUTS’ richly diverse slates have offered audiences a window into the breadth and depth of contemporary Japanese cinema. This eleventh installment of JAPAN CUTS presents a wide-ranging selection of films across each programming section that reveal the multiplicity of identities and layers of culture that shape Japanese film today—including international co-productions and adaptations, new LGBTQ cinema, female directors, and deeply relevant histories of WWII and nuclear trauma.”

I have pulled together a preview of the full line-up from old previews I have written and from the festival’s website to show potential audience members that there is so much worth going to see. Thanks go out to the people at Japan Society New York for making things a easier and creating the event!

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I hope this helps inform you about the films and inspires you to go and see some and if you do, please come back and tell me what you think. You might also want to check out the Japanese films screening at the New York Asian Film Festival. After a long period of writing news stories, I will be writing reviews for various films that have screened and will be screening at various festivals and ones in my collection.

Here’s the full line-up:

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Japan Cuts 2016 Preview

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Japan Cuts 2016 takes place from July 14th to the 24th and there are lots of familiar titles, many of which I’ll put as shorter entries to save space. However you cut it the line-up is really good with a diverse mixture of genres and stories. The guestlist is absolutely fantastic with the likes of Lily Franky, Atsuko Maeda, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sion Sono, and so many more talented filmmakers descending upon the festival! Here’s hoping Adam Torel of Third Window Films gets to attend the festival to introduce three films he has helped come into being. There’s also Japan Cuts Microcinema which sees some of the best short films from the last ten years played throughout the festival. Each film lasts around 30 minutes and people can jump in and watch whichever title takes their fancy between films. There’s also an interesting talk which analyses the Japanese film industry and how films get made.

What is on the programme, then? This is a quick preview but there’s a lot. I’ll break it down into sections and you can view trailers and more details for each on the films by clicking on the links:

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