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13th Annual Japan Cuts Film Festival Lineup Announced


13th Annual Japan Cuts Film Festival Lineup Announced

The Japan Society has announced a lineup of 42 films for the festival.

Press Release:

New York, NY (June 11, 2019) – Japan Society announces the full lineup for the 13th annual JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film, North America’s largest festival dedicated to presenting the best in contemporary Japanese cinema, set for July 19-28.

Premiering 26 features and 16 short films, the summer festival offers a deep dive into one of the world’s most vital film cultures with a diverse selection across its Feature Slate, Classics: Rediscoveries and Restorations, Documentary Focus, Experimental Spotlight and Shorts Showcase sections. This year’s lineup features 19 first-time filmmakers and 14 female directors (the most in the festival’s history), including 10 International Premieres, 16 North American Premieres, 4 U.S. Premieres, 4 East Coast Premieres and 6 New York Premieres. In addition, over 20 guest filmmakers and talent from Japan will join the festival to participate in post-screening Q&As and parties.

“This 13th edition of JAPAN CUTS provides testament to the continued vitality of contemporary Japanese cinema with a wide array of films by emerging filmmakers who dare to take formal and thematic risks,” says Kazu Watanabe, Japan Society Deputy Director of Film. “They are paired with a roster of veteran directors who similarly began their career in the spirit of creative innovation and who continue to expand their vision in new directions. Together, they tackle stories about existential ennui, class conflict and social discrimination through a range of filmmaking practices that continually subvert expectations and expand our notion of what Japanese cinema is.”

The Opening Film on July 19 is the U.S. Premiere of Dance With Me, an office comedy-road trip-musical directed by Waterboys helmer Shinobu Yaguchi featuring a breakout performance by star Ayaka Miyoshi. As previously announced, the festival’s Centerpiece Presentation on July 24 is the East Coast Premiere of Killing, a subversive samurai drama and meditation on the nature of violence by internationally renowned cult director Shinya Tsukamoto, who will be presented with the 2019 CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film prior to the screening. The director will also introduce a special 35mm presentation of his 1998 black-and-white classic Bullet Ballet on July 25. The Closing Film on July 28 is the North American Premiere of director Yuko Hakota’s remarkable debut feature Blue Hour, a comedic drama about rural homecoming and reinvention starring festival guests Kaho (Our Little Sister) and Eun-kyung Shim (Miss Granny).

Other festival highlights include: the New York Premiere of His Lost Name, a drama about two lost souls who find themselves in a tenuous father-son dynamic and the long-awaited debut feature by Hirokazu Kore-eda’s protégé and assistant director Nanako Hirose; the North American Premiere of 22-year-old director Hiroshi Okuyama’s highly original debut feature Jesus, about a young boy’s encounter with a six-inch Christ, winner of the New Directors Award at the 2019 San Sebastian International Film Festival; the International Premiere of NIGHT CRUISING, a fascinating documentary about a congenitally blind man’s attempt to create a short film for the first time, with filmmakers and subject in person; the return of festival favorite and 2013 CUT ABOVE Award recipient Toshiaki Toyoda with his latest crowd-pleaser The Miracle of Crybaby Shottan, a biopic about a late-blooming shogi master; and the New York Premiere of the recently restored send-up of 1980s pop music The Legend of the Stardust Brothers by director Macoto Tezka (son of legendary manga artist Osamu Tezuka).

Organized by Kazu Watanabe, Joel Neville Anderson and Amber Noé.

Tickets go on sale to the general public Tuesday, June 18 at 11:00 am. Japan Society members receive early access starting Tuesday, June 11. Tickets are $15/$12 seniors, students and persons with disabilities/$10 Japan Society members. Opening Film and Centerpiece Presentation tickets are $21/$18/$16. Discount ticket offers are available. See below for complete information or visit

The opening film is Shinobu Yaguchi’s Dance With Me, making its U.S. premiere. The story follows a salarywoman who has been hypnotized and breaks into song and dance whenever she hears music.

Other films include:

Blue Hour
And Your Bird Can Sing
Being Natural
The Chaplin
Demolition Girl
His Last Name
The Island of Cats

Source: Japan Society press release

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