Japan Cuts Film Fest Roundup

The Japan Society will once again be hosting its annual Japan Cuts festival, a twelve-day review of Japanese cinema at its Manhattan headquarters. Beginning on Wednesday, the Society will be screening a mix of feature premieres, revivals, and short films. Here’s a roundup of some of the most highly recommended offerings:

  • Japan requites Quentin Tarantino’s career-long affections by featuring Sukiyaki Western Django,” a Japanese spaghetti western by Takahi Miike, who also directed 1999’s creepy “Audition.” (7/5 at 9pm)
  • Director Koji Wakamatsu’s docudrama “United Red Army” chronicles 1972 incident in which a group of left-wing radicals hiding out in a mountain lodge for guerilla training descended into violence, torturing and killing each other in pursuit if a purification process they labeled “self-criticism.” The filmmaker will be on hand to answer audience questions via satellite video (he’s barred from entering the US due to his political affiliations). (7/6 at 4pm; 7/8 at 7:30 pm)
  • Yasukuni, a documentary about the controversial annual pilgrimage to the Yasukuni Shrine, where many of Japan’s WWII war criminals are enshrined. Director Li Ying shot the film over the course of ten years only to have it banned in many of Japan’s move theater’s amid protests over the sensitive subject matter. (7/5 at 4pm; 7/10 at 6:30pm)
  • A three-film tribute to Kon Ichikawa, perhaps Japan’s most well-known filmmaker, who died this year. The tribute will include the first-ever subtitled of Ichikawa’s 1976 “The Inugami Family,” (7/11 at 8:30pm) and his own 2006 remake of the film (Murder of the Inugami Clan [7/12 at 5:45pm]), along with “The Filmful Life,” a documentary about the acclaimed director by Shunji Iwai (7/11 at 6:30pm).

In addition to the eighteen feature films, for which tickets cost $11, the festival will also showcase around sixty shorts, all of which will be shown for free.