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It’s a Summer Film! © 2020 “It’s a Summer Film!” Production Committee

JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film

August 20—September 2, 2021

“It’s the best opportunity for American film lovers to get an unparalleled peek into the singular world of Japanese cinema.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Meticulously curated… An annual highlight of New York’s film calendar”
The New York Times

“JAPAN CUTS has unambiguously become America’s best annual showcase of new Japanese film… a comprehensive snapshot of the country’s ever-vital national cinema.”
IndieWire

North America’s largest festival of contemporary Japanese cinema returns for its 15th edition as an online and in-person hybrid event! Following last year's entirely online edition, this summer’s festival offers 14 days of unique access to the best new films from Japan for audiences across the United States—including studio films, independent gems, documentaries, shorts, avant-garde works and more—through Japan Society’s virtual cinema. Additionally, JAPAN CUTS is thrilled to welcome back New York City festival goers to Japan Society’s auditorium for an exciting and diverse selection of Japanese cinema on the big screen!

IN-PERSON SCREENINGS:

Tickets: $15 / $10 members

IN-PERSON SCREENING ON-SALE DATES
Members: August 10
General public: August 16

  ONLINE SCREENINGS:

Rentals: $1-$10

All-Access Pass: $69 for all online films (limited availability; on sale starting August 10)

Members: 20% off via promo code
Not a member? Join today!

View the full lineup of our in-person and online screenings below.


In-Person Screenings

All in-person screenings will take place in Japan Society’s auditorium, located at 333 E. 47th Street in New York, NY. Please be sure to review the Japan Society safety and health policies here.

Aristocrats Aristocrats
2020. 124 min. Directed by Yukiko Sode.

New York Premiere. Yukiko Sode’s commanding third feature explores relationships between women seeking pleasure and self-fulfillment amidst family expectations and class hierarchy, featuring outstanding lead performances.

Saturday, August 21 at 7 PM
Thursday, August 26 at 4 PM

DRAMA, SOCIAL CRITIQUE, ROMANCE

Great Yokai War The Great Yokai War: Guardians
2021. 118 min. Directed by Takashi Miike.

U.S. Premiere. Miike’s triumphant return to the phantasmagorical realm of mythical yokai introduces a whole new cast of faces in this adventure for all ages, including the long-awaited return of Daimajin!

Saturday, August 28 at 7 PM
Wednesday, September 1 at 4 PM

FANTASY, HORROR, ADVENTURE

Summer Film It’s a Summer Film!
2020. 97 min. Directed by Soushi Matsumoto.

U.S. Premiere. A precocious chanbara-obsessed teen and her friends aspire to make a samurai film over the course of one summer in this endearing take on a coming-of-age story, replete with teen romance and a sci-fi twist.

Friday, August 20 at 7 PM
Saturday, August 21 at 1:30 PM

COMEDY, SCI-FI, COMING OF AGE

Kiba Fangs of Fiction Kiba: The Fangs of Fiction
2021. 113 min. Directed by Daihachi Yoshida.

Int'l Premiere. In this whip-smart, all-star ensemble comedy, a cocky and manipulative chief editor at a major publishing company strives to save a failing magazine and enlists an earnest and innovative rookie to help.

Thursday, August 26 at 7 PM
Saturday, August 28 at 4 PM

COMEDY, DRAMA

Labyrinth of Cinema Labyrinth of Cinema
2019. 179 min. Directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi.

New York Premiere. The late Nobuhiko Obayashi’s swan song is a breathless journey through Japan’s war-torn past and an elegiac celebration of cinema—an awe-inspiring conclusion to a 60-year filmmaking career.

Thursday, September 2 at 7 PM

DRAMA, WAR, EXPERIMENTAL

The Pass: Last Days of the Samurai The Pass: Last Days of the Samurai
2020. 114 min. Directed by Takashi Koizumi.

New York Premiere. In late 19th century Japan, a respected samurai (Koji Yakusho) tries to avoid war for his clan through negotiation, but when he is left with no other choice, he picks up his sword and heads into battle.

Saturday, August 21 at 4 PM
Wednesday, September 1 at 7 PM

PERIOD FILM, DRAMA, WAR

Talking the Pictures Talking the Pictures
2019. 127 min. Directed by Masayuki Suo.

New York Premiere. A charming and comedic love letter to Japan’s silent movie era that follows an aspiring benshi (silent film narrator) as he tries to save a movie house with his performances while also running from the law.

Friday, August 20 at 4 PM
Saturday, August 28 at 1 PM

COMEDY, PERIOD FILM

Wife of a Spy Wife of a Spy
2020. 115 min. Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

Centerpiece Presentation. New York Premiere. Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s first historical drama is a dizzying tale of suspicion, betrayal, and love during WWII, featuring surprising metafilmic turns and condemnation of colonialism, with a brave performance by Yu Aoi. Featuring a video greeting from Yu Aoi, recipient of the CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Performance in Film.

Friday, August 27 at 7 PM

DRAMA, THRILLER, PERIOD FILM


Online Screenings

Films listed below stream online August 20-September 2 at film.japansociety.org.

Feature Slate (Online)
Come and Go Come and Go
2020. 158 min. Directed by Kah Wai Lim.

Tourists, foreigners and social outcasts converge on the streets of Osaka in this sprawling ensemble drama that weaves through multiple characters' lives to reveal a universal loneliness in the heart of the melting pot city.

DRAMA, COMEDY

Company Retreat Company Retreat
2021. 135 min. Directed by Atsushi Funahashi.

Following a workplace sexual harassment incident that leads to social media bullying, a group of co-workers gather for a seaside vacation that quickly turns ugly when they broach the #MeToo elephant in the room.

DRAMA, BASED ON A TRUE STORY

The Goldfish: Dreaming of the Sea The Goldfish: Dreaming of the Sea
2021. 76 min. Directed by Sara Ogawa.

In this poignant coming-of-age tale, 18-year-old former foster child Hana reconciles trauma and chosen family. A stunning, naturalistic drama lensed by longtime Hirokazu Kore-eda DP Yutaka Yamazaki.

DRAMA, COMING OF AGE

It’s a Summer Film! It’s a Summer Film!
2020. 97 min. Directed by Soushi Matsumoto.

A precocious chanbara-obsessed teen and her friends aspire to make a samurai film over the course of one summer in this endearing take on a coming-of-age story, replete with teen romance and a sci-fi twist.

COMEDY, SCI-FI, COMING OF AGE

Ito Ito
2021. 116 min. Directed by Satoko Yokohama.

Returning to her birthplace of Aomori, Satoko Yokohama introduces Ito, a painfully shy high schooler reconnecting with her matrilineal practice of Tsugaru-shamisen while learning the ropes part-time in a unique maid cafe.

COMEDY, DRAMA, COMING OF AGE

Wife of a Spy Wife of a Spy
2020. 115 min. Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

Centerpiece Presentation. Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s first historical drama is a dizzying tale of suspicion, betrayal, and love during WWII, featuring surprising metafilmic turns and condemnation of colonialism, with a brave performance by Yu Aoi.

DRAMA, THRILLER, PERIOD FILM

Wonderful Paradise Wonderful Paradise
2020. 95 min. Directed by Masashi Yamamoto.

As a family moves out of their luxury home, a group of increasingly eccentric guests arrive for an impromptu farewell party that turns into a surreal carnival in this energetic comedy from indie auteur Masashi Yamamoto.

COMEDY

Next Generation (Online)
B/B B/B
2020. 77 min. Directed by Kosuke Nakahama.

In this highly imaginative and stylish debut, a pop culture-obsessed high school girl with dissociative identity disorder is questioned by a psychiatrist and police detective in connection to a murder case.

DRAMA, FANTASY, COMEDY

Mari and Mari Mari and Mari
2021. 91 min. Directed by Tatsuya Yamanishi.

A casting agent’s life is turned upside down when his longtime girlfriend, Mari, suddenly disappears—only to be replaced (without explanation) by a complete stranger bearing the same name.

DRAMA, MYSTERY

My Sorry Life My Sorry Life
2021. 95 min. Directed by Kozue Nomoto.

A driven TV producer, perturbed by her doting ex-comedian boyfriend’s desire to have children, finally takes the lead on a new series in which she works with a young trans man who changes her perspective.

DRAMA, LGBTQ

Sasaki in My Mind Sasaki in My Mind
2020. 118 min. Directed by Takuya Uchiyama.

In the midst of a quarter-life crisis, a frustrated actor’s memories of the immature antics of a class clown bring on renewed appreciation for youthful dreams and abandoned creative ambitions in this surprising debut.

DRAMA

Spaghetti Code Love Spaghetti Code Love
2021. 96 min. Directed by Takeshi Maruyama.

In this beautifully lensed and ambitious drama, a disparate group of young people connected by chance or circumstance struggle to find love and acceptance amidst the pressures of modern life in Tokyo.

DRAMA

Town Without Sea Town Without Sea
2020. 105 min. Directed by Elaiza Ikeda.

A shy high schooler is at a crossroads wondering what happiness means—and if he’s ready to pursue it amongst attachment to friends, family, and taiko drumming in Tagawa, Fukuoka—in this debut by actress Elaiza Ikeda.

DRAMA, COMING OF AGE

Classics (Online)
Robinson’s Garden Robinson’s Garden
1988. 119 min. Directed by Masashi Yamamoto.

Newly Remastered! Late one night, free-spirited Kumi stumbles across a flourishing garden in a derelict industrial site and takes it upon herself to create a DIY haven for outcasts and punks from all walks of life.

DRAMA, COMEDY

To Sleep So as to Dream To Sleep So as to Dream
1986. 80 min. Directed by Kaizo Hayashi.

35th Anniversary—New 2K Restoration! An aging silver-screen starlet seeks the aid of two steadfast detectives when her daughter is kidnapped for ransom in this unforgettable, dream-like ode to silent cinema.

DRAMA, SILENT

Documentary Focus (Online)
No Smoking No Smoking
2019. 96 min. Directed by Taketoshi Sado.

This intimate portrait documentary follows legendary musician and composer Haruomi Hosono—founding member of Yellow Magic Orchestra—as he candidly talks about his life and travels overseas to play concerts.

DOCUMENTARY, MUSIC

Ushiku Ushiku
2021. 87 min. Directed by Thomas Ash.

Japan’s restrictive refugee policies materialize in Ushiku immigration detention center, where people languish for years under threat of deportation. Using hidden cameras, this brave work is an urgent call for human rights.

DOCUMENTARY, HUMAN RIGHTS

Why You Can’t Be Prime Minister Why You Can’t Be Prime Minister
2020. 119 min. Directed by Arata Oshima.

What keeps popular policies of social welfare from the seat of power? Over nearly two decades, Arata Oshima follows a politician navigating splintered opposition parties in a landscape dominated by the rightwing.

DOCUMENTARY, POLITICS

Experimental Spotlight (Online)
The Blue Danube The Blue Danube
2021. 105 min. Directed by Akira Ikeda.

The absurdity of war and mindless bureaucracy is put on full display in this entrancing tale of a young man assigned to his unit’s marching band, approached with surprisingly profound and moving deadpan comedy.

EXPERIMENTAL, WAR, COMEDY

Double Layered Town / Making a Song to Replace Our Positions Double Layered Town / Making a Song to Replace Our Positions
2021. 81 min. Directed by Haruka Komori & Natsumi Seo.

As the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear catastrophe of March 11, 2011 reaches its ten year anniversary, this deeply imaginative and empathetic film approaches the past and future of the city of Rikuzentakata.

EXPERIMENTAL, DOCUMENTARY

Shorts Showcase (Online)
Experimental Shorts Program Experimental Shorts Program
2021. 84 min. Yu Araki, Takuya Chisaka, Masami Kawai, Hakhyun Kim, Hirofumi Nakamoto, Onohana, Koki Tanaka, Nao Yoshigai, Yoko Yuki.

In a range of boundary-breaking shorts from handmade animation to essay film, abstract nature doc, and lo-fi sci-fi, filmmakers reimagine past and future terrains.

EXPERIMENTAL, DOCUMENTARY

Narrative Shorts Program Narrative Shorts Program
2021. 103 min. Anshul Chauhan, Mayu Nakamura, Toshiaki Toyoda, Yoko Yamanaka.

A samurai condemns corruption on the eve of his death, and friends and lovers reconnect and break apart during COVID-19 lockdown in this outstanding collection of shorts by established and up-and-coming directors.

DRAMA

JAPAN CUTS is sponsored by Shiseido Americas.

Shiseido

Additional support is provided by Sapporo U.S.A., Inc.

Shiseido

Japan Society Film programs are generously supported by ORIX Corporation USA, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Endowment Fund. Additional season support is provided by The Globus Family, Masako H. Shinn, David Toberisky, Geoff and Fumi Matters, Akiko Koide and Shohei Koide, Laurel Gonsalves, David S. Howe, and Masu Hiroshi Masuyama. Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines, the exclusive Japanese airline sponsor of Japan Society Film.

ORIX NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

Japan Airlines