Now entering its 12th year, JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film returns to present the best new movies made in and around Japan and the filmmakers and performers who made them, with new titles never before seen in New York and many screening for the first time outside Japan or in North America.
Set for July 19 to 29, the 2018 edition will feature an exclusive premiere roster of nearly 30 feature films, ranging from big budget blockbusters to powerful shoestring indies, and includes spotlights on documentary cinema, experimental films, shorts and recent rediscoveries and restorations of classic Japanese favorites.
With the full schedule to be announced in early June, first highlights include:
Mori, The Artist’s Habitat – Centerpiece Presentation – North American Premiere: A warm, comical portrait of artist Morikazu Kumagai and his wife Hideko, starring Tsutomu Yamazaki and featured festival guest Kirin Kiki. Directed by Shuichi Okita (Mohican Comes Home, The Woodsman and the Rain).
KUSHINA, what will you be – International Premiere: A strikingly original debut by promising new filmmaker Moët Hayami, in attendance. Recipient of the 2018 JAPAN CUTS Award at the 2018 Osaka Asian Film Festival.
Night Is Short, Walk on Girl – East Coast Premiere: A highly original and visually astounding animated comedy about unrequited love and a wild night on the town from acclaimed animation director Masaaki Yuasa (Devilman Crybaby, Mind Game).
Sennan Asbestos Disaster – North American Premiere: A ten-years-in-the-making epic about victims of asbestos-related diseases by influential documentarian Kazuo Hara (The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On), in attendance with producer Sachiko Kobayashi.
Yocho (Foreboding) – New York Premiere: Internationally renowned director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s follow-up and companion piece to Before We Vanish (2017) is a darker and scarier apocalyptic sci-fi thriller about alien invasion.
Also this year, the festival will award the 2018 CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Performance in Film to Kirin Kiki (After the Storm, Sweet Bean) — a veteran film and television actor who started her career in the 1960s, best known to international audiences for her memorable work in recent films by leading Japanese directors Hirokazu Kore-eda and Naomi Kawase.
“Kirin Kiki is a legend, and we are so honored to present her with this well-deserved award this year,” says Aiko Masubuchi, Senior Film Programmer at Japan Society. “Despite being on screen for over 50 years, she only continues to impress us with her nuanced, true-to-life performances that elevate every film in which she appears.”
Masubuchi continues, “We still have a lot up our sleeves, but we are so excited to share these first few JAPAN CUTS 2018 titles and guests. It’s a perfect slice of what the festival is all about: bringing the latest in both established and fresh new voices in Japanese cinema and celebrating the diversity it has to offer."
In the run-up to this year's festival, the 2017 JAPAN CUTS Audience Award winner Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High receives an encore screening on Friday, June 15, 7:00 pm as a "JAPAN CUTS Encore" within Japan Society’s Monthly Classics programming.