Those who caught our interview with Japan Cuts’ Samuel and Joel might have been a tad flabbergasted to learn that last year’s festival had a whopping twenty four films for the public to view at the beautiful Japan Society facilities just a stone’s throw away from Grand Central Station in New York. Well, be sure that you’re not doing anything July 7th to the 22nd this year, because the Japan Cuts crew upped the ante with an incredible thirty two films, representing the best of cinema from Japan.
Kicking off this year’s festival is the animated adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha (2011, pictured right), an award-winning manga series by one master (Tezuka) based on the life of another. The film itself is the first in a trilogy that’s sure to be epic in both scope and theme. Speaking of manga and anime, Japan Cuts, with the New York Asian Film Festival, will be premiering extreme cinema fave Takashi Miike’s extremely cute looking Ninja Kids!!! (2011), a live-action adaptation of a popular newspaper manga. Both volumes of the wildly popular live-action Gantz: The Movie (2011) films will be re-screened. Another NYAFF co-presentation and one of the centerpieces of both festivals is a tenth anniversary screening of Kinji Fukasaku’s original Battle Royale (2000). No 3D CG blood touch-ups in this screening, the film will be presented as God (and the late Fukasaku) had intended, in 2D.
Japan Cuts is not just all otaku-oriented; plenty of the latest mainstream and indie Japanese filmmakers and films will also be showcased. Yu Irie, who made a splash at least year’s New York Asian Film Festival with his rap dramedy 8000 Miles (2009), returns with Ringing in Their Ears (2011). Naoko Ogigami, a VCinema favorite, is premiering her latest, Toilet (2010). Masashi Yamamoto’s The Three Points (2011) is another premiere and highly anticipated by the head of coverage team, Stan Glick. Yoshimasa Ishibashi’s Milocrorze: A Love Story (2011), making its North American premiere, is a film that was much talked about at this year’s Nippon Connection festival in Frankfurt. Old school samurai slice-and-dice fans will be happy that their genre is well represented by both Shigemichi Sugita’s adaptation of The Last Ronin (2010) and Hideyuki Hirayama’s Sword of Desperation (2010, our review here).
And there’s more?!? Yes, a lot more which you can check out (and get tickets for soon) on Japan Cuts’ page here. Also keep your eyes on the Japan Society’s YouTube page (here) where trailers will undoubtedly be posted in the near future and, of course, stay tuned to VCinema because our East Coast team will be bringing coverage to both the blog and the podcast.