Japan Cuts 2014 Preview

Japan Cuts Logo

New York, New York, what a wonderful town. I have never wanted to live in New York as much as I did after reading the line-up for Japan Cuts 2014.

The Japan Society will host a series of awesome Japanese films from July 10th to July 29th with titles like Sion Sono’s ultra-violent black comedy Why Don’t You Play in Hell? coupled with crime thriller The Devil’s Path and recent (controversial) World War II blockbuster The Eternal Zero. These are just some of the headline titles, there are even more listed, many of which were released in the last few weeks and some of which are crazy and bizarre and speak to the sharp and unique sense of cinema that the curators have – respect has to be paid for the programming of the documentaries on this list. There’s definitely something for everyone! Here’s a trailer:

I am blown away by the titles and the guests that have been announced with many actors coming over for Q&As (FUMI NIKAIDO!!!). For a fan of cinema in general and Japanese cinema in particular, this is a festival rich with great films and events!

Here’s a list of the films and trailers with comments from me. Click on the title for more info such as times and buying tickets. Tickets are already on sale!


Thursday July 10th, Opening Night


6 P.M.

The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji   The Mole Song Film Poster

Japanese Title: 土竜の唄 潜入捜査官 REIJI

Romaji: Mogura no Uta Sennuu Sosakan REIJI

Running Time: 130 mins.

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Kudo Kankuro (Screenplay), Noboru Takahashi (Original Manga)

Starring: Toma Ikuta, Ren Osugi, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Riisa Naka, Takayuki Yamada, Mitsuru Fukikoshi

This is based on a comedy manga by Noboru Takahashi and directed by Takashi Miike (For Love’s Sake). The film has a great cast of characters like Shinichi Tsutsumi (Why Don’t You Play in Hell?), Ren Osugi (Exte) and Mitsuru Fukikoshi (Cold Fish). It seems like a great way to open the film festival since it looks absolutely funny.

Reiji Kikukawa (Ikuta) has a strong sense of justice but graduates at the bottom of his class from the police academy. He is so useless his superiors send him on what should be a suicide mission. First the police chief fires him for disciplinary issues and then sets him up as a mole in the Sukiyaki gang, the largest crime group in the Kanto area. His target is Shuho Todoroki, the boss, and so Reiji goes through hell to get his man!


8:30 P.M.

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?
Why Don't You Play In Hell Film Poster

Japanese Title: 地獄 で なぜ 悪い Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Romaji: Jigoku de Naze Warui Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Running Time: 126 mins

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay),

Starring: Jun Kunimura, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Fumi Nikaido, Tomochika, Hiroki Hasegawa, Kotou Lorena, Gen Hoshino, Tak Sakaguchi

Sion Sono blew my mind with this one. After a short run of issue films like the critically lauded Himizu and The Land of Hope, he made this hilarious and blood-thirsty film which was both entertainment and a love letter to cult films and yakuza classics. I found it absolutely hilarious and one of the best films of last year.

Muto (Kunimura) and Ikegami (Tsutsumi) are rival gangsters who despise each other especially since Muto’s wife Shizue (Tomochika) butchered a boss in Ikegami’s gang. She gets sent to prison which jeopardises her daughter’s acting career. Ten years later and days before Shizue is due to be released, Muto is desperate to make his daughter a big-screen star as a reward for Shizue’s loyalty and kidnaps Koji (Hoshino), a timid passer-by who is mistaken for being a film director.

When dealing with gangsters you don’t mess about so Koji recruits the help of a mad-cinephile Hirata (Hasegawa) who dreams of being a movie director and has a ragtag film crew named The Fuck Bombers. Hirata seizes his chance and loses his mind as he casts Mitsuko in a fictional gang war but it soon goes wrong when it turns real.

Introduction and Q&A with actress Fumi Nikaido (I so want to be in her presence!!!)

Followed by the LET’S PLAY IN HELL Opening Night Party!

Continue reading “Japan Cuts 2014 Preview”

The Eternal Zero, Deep Red Love, Bakumatsu Kitan SHINSEN5 Ni Fuun Igagoe, Eiga Nakamura Kanzaburo, Cutie and the Boxer, Jo hōkō ga mita Ryūkyū sappō to Ryūkyū, Inochite nanbo nan? Sen’nan asubesuto wazawai o tatakau Japanese Film Trailers

Mawaru Images (2)This is the second trailer post of the week following on from yesterday’s. Christmas days is less than a week away and I’m getting excited over the event and, as mentioned yesterday, a week off to watch anime and films. One of the things I intend to watch is Moteki. It’s a recommendation from my friend Tired Paul since it’s the prequel to the movie Love Strikes!, which will be one of the films that I’ll see in the Japan Foundation’s Touring Film Programme 2014. It’s a prequel and having that knowledge will be good. I’ve been trying to keep up with my Christmas posts by ploughing through a lot of horror film reviews and part of that effort was the review for the mumblegore title You’re Next! At the end of the month, Third Window Films will release the Shinya Tsukamoto film Bullet Ballet.

Enough about me, here are the rest of the films released in Japan this weekend:

The Eternal Zero               The Eternal Zero Film Poster

Japanese Title:  永遠の0

Romaji: Eien no Zero

Release Date: December 21st, 2013

Running Time: 144 mins.

Director: Takashi Yamazaki

Writer: Tamio Hayashi (Screenplay), Naoki Hyakuta (Original Novel)

Starring: Junichi Okada, Mao Inoue, Haruma Miura, Yuichiro Hirose, Nanaka Yagi, Hirofumi Arai, Min Tanaka, Kazue Fukiishi, Jun Fubuki, Isao Natsuyagi

A young man named Kentaro Saeki (Miura) has failed his bar test yet again. Confused about life he begins to research his family with his older sister Keiko (Fukiishi). They focus on their grandfather Kyuzo Miyabe (Okada) who fought in the Pacific War. He was a man scared of death and obsessed with life who volunteered to join a ‘special forces’ squad but as they encounter old colleagues of his they find a dark secret kept hidden for 60 years…


Continue reading “The Eternal Zero, Deep Red Love, Bakumatsu Kitan SHINSEN5 Ni Fuun Igagoe, Eiga Nakamura Kanzaburo, Cutie and the Boxer, Jo hōkō ga mita Ryūkyū sappō to Ryūkyū, Inochite nanbo nan? Sen’nan asubesuto wazawai o tatakau Japanese Film Trailers”