Japan Cuts 2007
Festival of New Japanese Film

July 5-15, 2007

Japan Society's first-ever large-scale film festival brings a sizable slice of Japan's dynamic contemporary film culture to New York City.


Over 15 U.S. and New York premieres of the best in feature films from Japan, from blockbusters, cutting-edge independent films and animation, to documentaries.

NY Premiere

ANTS (Ari no heitai)

Winner at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Kinema Jumpo Award!
Waichi Okumura was ordered by his military superiors to stay and fight alongside the Chinese in its civil war after WWII. Since his return to Japan in 1954, the government has denied him his military compensation, claiming he remained in China voluntarily. Award-winning documentarian Ikeya accompanies Okumura to China on a journey to uncover evidence, as well as to confront his own grueling memories as a young soldier.

2006, 101 min., 35mm, color. Directed by Kaoru Ikeya.

U.S. Premiere - Co-Presented with NYAFF

BIG BANG LOVE, JUVENILE A (46 okunen no koi)

From the director of Ichi the Killer and Audition!
What happens when you put a bunch of punks behind bars? What goes on inside the prison walls? Opening with what appears to be a murder, the film rewinds to tell the story of two young prisoners whose enigmatic relationship revolves around violence and jealousy. Always one to push boundaries, Miike directs this mystery entrenched in bloodshed, homoerotic tension and fantasy.

2006, 84 min., 35mm, color. Directed by Takashi Miike.  With Ryuhei Matsuda, Masanobu Ando, Denichi Endo.

U.S. Premiere

The Blossoming of Etsuko Kamiya

From the director of Preparation for the Festival and Ronin Gai!
Etsuko lives in the country with her protective brother and his wife during WWII. In love with Akashi, a kamikaze pilot, Etsuko must accept the impending fate of his death, and is set up with his best friend, Nagayo. Focusing primarily on war stories in his last years, with characters always full of dignity and warmth, this stoic film marks respected director Kuroki’s final feature.

2006, 113 min., 35mm, color.  Directed by Kazuo Kuroki.  With Tomoyo Harada, Masatoshi Nagase, Shunsuke Matsuda.

New York Premiere


Official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and Berlinale Film Festival!
At times playful, other times confrontational, Yang questioningly chronicles her father’s devout loyalty to North Korea since emigrating to Japan in the 1950s. Yang reveals exceptional footage of North Korea’s daily life during a trip to visit her brothers, who were all sent there as teenagers. In this deeply personal documentary, Yang reconciles her father’s politics with the love they share as father and daughter.

2006, 107 min., digital video, color. Directed by Yonghi Yang.

New York Premiere - Co-Presented with NYAFF

DEATH NOTE (Desu noto)

and its sequel

DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME (Desu noto: The last name)

Introduction and Q&A with the director!
When the devil gives Light the “Death Note”, he begins killing off criminals and corrupt politicians under the names of Kira. Believing he is creating a better world, he quickly becomes a hero for the masses, creating a media frenzy. Brilliant detective L is determined to capture Kira, who he knows is truly Light, waging a battle of wits to proclaim his true identity.

Death Note continues as Kira II, Misa, arrives on the scene, a Japanese pop idol who is madly in love with Kira, and will do anything, even kill, for his attention.

2006, 126 min. and 141 min., 35mm, color. Directed by Shusuke Kaneko. With Tatsuya Fujiwara and Kenichi Matsuyama.

U.S. Premiere – Co-Presented with NYAFF


Introduction and Q&A with the director!
A beautiful young girl is found brutally murdered within a container full of hair. A man with an insatiable hair fetish steals the corpse, which grows hair endlessly, and fashions hair extensions to sell to salons. Little does he realize, the extensions carry the fury of the girl’s vengeance, killing anyone who wears them. Director Shion Sono ingeniously mixes comedy with fright in this hilarious and hair raising J-horror.

2007, 108 min., 35mm, color.  Directed by Shion Sono.  With Chiaki Kuriyama, Ren Osugi and Megumi Sato.

U.S. Premiere

FACES OF A FIG TREE (Ichijiku no kao)

Winner at the 2007 Berlinale Film Festival!
A fig tree shines in the Kadowaki family garden, watching over the family through their meals together, quarrels, death, and new beginnings. Momoi gives a charismatic performance as a frantic mother and devoted wife, in a film that she wrote, directed and starred, in a dynamic collaboration with art director Takeo Kimura, best known for his work with Seijun Suzuki.

2006, 94 min., 35mm, color.  Directed by Kaori Momoi.  With Kaori Momoi, Hanako Yamada, Saburo Ishikura.

U.S. Premiere - Co-Presented with NYAFF


From director of Antenna and Kichiku!
Under the Act of Vengeance, professional contract killers like Hiroshi can lawfully kill criminals upon request of their surviving victims. Unable to feel human emotions or physical pain after exposure to a freeze bomb, Hiroshi gets mired in his employer’s scheme to exact her own revenge, against the man linked to the bomb catastrophe years earlier. Kumakiri creates a dystopian future in this fast-paced thriller.

2006, 103 min., 35 mm, color.  Directed by Kazuyoshi Kumakiri.  With Tetsuji Tamayama, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tsugumi.

U.S. Premiere


Director of Suicide Club and Noriko’s Dinner Table!
Dumped by his girlfriend and suffering from an STD, Mutsugoro is a deadbeat actor who travels to his hometown for his high school reunion. As a cast of richly crafted characters pulls Mutsugoro deeper into his own madness, the story weaves in and out of a hallucinatory world packed with excruciating pain, girl troubles, drunken gunshots and paranoia.

2005, 100 min., digital video, color.  Directed by Shion Sono.  With Tetsushi Tanaka, Yuna Natsuno, Jun Murakami, Joe Odagiri.

New York Premiere

KAMOME DINER (Kamome shokudo)

Introduction and Q&A with the director!
After moving to Helsinki on a whim, Sachie opens a diner, Ruokala Lokki. With the help of two women traveling through Finland alone, they slowly develop relationships with the locals, like Japan-fanatic Tommi, and the mysterious man who teaches Sachie how to make the best cup of coffee.

2005, 102 min., 35mm, color.  Directed by Naoko Ogigami.  With Satomi Kobayashi, Masako Motai, Hairi Katagiri.  In Japanese and Finnish with English subtitles.

U.S. Premiere

MATSUGANE POTSHOT AFFAIR (Matsugane ransha jiken)

From the director of Linda Linda Linda!
A woman lies dead in the snow as a little boy curiously feels her breasts under her shirt. Unraveling the dirty secrets and dysfunctional pathos of the inhabitants of small town Matsugane, Yamashita follows famed director Shohei Imamura's lead in showcasing adultery, incest and murder, adding his signature black humor and characters that are at once despicable and charming.

2006, 112 min., 35mm, color.  Directed by Nobuhiro Yamashita.  With Hirofumi Arai, Takashi Yamanaka, Tomokazu Miura.

U.S. Premiere - Co-Presented with NYAFF

MEMORIES OF MATSUKO (Kiraware Matsuko no issho)

Winner of the Asian Film Award and the Kinema Jumpo Award for best actress!
Once a gorgeous, talented teacher and singer, Matsuko’s life takes a drastic nosedive, descending through family banishment, prostitution, yakuza, abusive love, and eventually her own murder. Director Nakashima (Kamikaze Girls) counters this tragedy with a great sense of irony and humor, full of eye-popping colors and candy-coated musical numbers.

2006, 130 min., 35 mm, color.  Directed by Tetsuya Nakashima.  With Miki Nakatani, Eita, Teruyuki Kagawa, Asuka Kurosawa.

U.S. Premiere – Co-Presented with NYAFF


From the director of Tetsuo and Haze!
Two bodies are found brutally slaughtered, one after another, seemingly murdered in their sleep. Detective Keiko seeks the help of the Nightmare Detective, who is able to go into people’s dreams—only to find that he is depressed and suicidal, disgusted by the repulsive nature of human beings. Welcome to “Tsukamoto’s World”, filled with the director’s trademark recipe of violence, eccentricity and brooding beauty.

2006, 106 min., 35mm, color.  Directed by Shinya Tsukamoto.  With Ryuhei Matsuda, Masanobu Ando.

U.S. Premiere

THE PRISONER (Yuheisha – Terorisuto)

Legendary director Masao Adachi’s comeback after 35 years!
A man is locked up after a botched suicide attack, enduring endless torture and slow mental decay in prison. Avant-garde director and screenplay writer through the 60s, Adachi moved to Lebanon after joining the Japanese Red Army in the 70s. This story is based on Adachi’s own experiences, as well as inspired by true events. Music written and produced by leading composers/ musicians Yoshihide Otomo and Jim O’Rourke.

2006, 113 min., digital video, color.  Directed by Masao Adachi.  With Tomorowo Taguchi, Joji Kajiwara, Panta, Hiroshi Yamamoto.

NY Premiere

SWAY (Yureru)

Introduction and Q&A with the director!
Official selection at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, winner of Kinema Jumpo Awards!
When Takeru returns to his hometown, he runs into Chieko, the girlfriend he left behind years before to pursue his career in Tokyo. But when a fatal incident involving Chieko leads to Takeru’s brother’s arrest for her murder, years of suppressed anger and betrayal surfaces, threatening to tear the family apart forever.

2006, 120 min., 35mm, color.  Directed by Miwa Nishikawa.  With Joe Odagiri, Teruyuki Kagawa, Masato Ibu, Yoko Maki.

NY Premiere


From the director of Domo-kun!
Komaneko spends her days in her attic making films with her handmade dolls, in this puppet animation featuring five short episodes. Komaneko’s pastel hues, kawaii characters and storylines delight both children and adults alike. Great for kids 2+!

2006, 60 min., 35mm, color.  Directed by Tsuneo Goda.  No dialogue.

U.S. Premiere

MONSIEUR GREENPEAS (Ryokutama Shinshi)

Screening followed by a special puppet animation demonstration by the director!
Popping out of a plate of pilaf, Monsieur Greenpeas embarks on a dizzying adventure to reclaim his lost briefcase from Joker. Acknowledging Wallace and Gromit and Hitchcock as major influences, Kurita spent nearly five years making this humorous, action-packed film on his own. Great for kids 7+!

2004, 48 min., 35mm, color.  Directed by Yasuo Kurita.  Partially in French with English subtitles.


Short films from the forefront of Japan's emerging independent filmmakers and video artists. FREE ADMISSION.

Video Art Night

More Than Nature, curated by Marco Antonini

Nippon Connection Festival on Tour

Nippon Connection Festival on Tour was compiled by Nippon Connection, the Japanese film festival in Frankfurt, Germany.

  • Digista
  • Flowers of Waseda
  • German + Rain (Jaman + ame)
  • Image Rings Presents Immoral Films
  • JVC Tokyo Video Festival Special
  • Look of Love (Rukku obu rabu)
  • Open Art
  • Strange Fruit
  • Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival Special


Film screenings and a Networking Salon for New York and Japan-based filmmakers.


2004, 27 min., 35mm, color.  Directed by Kimi Takesue.  Print courtesy of Women Make Movies.


2007, 5 min., digital video, color.  Directed by Heather Lenz.  Produced by Karen Johnson and Heather Lenz.


2006, 42 min., digital video, color.  Directed by Reina Higashitani.


Gamera the Brave (Gamera - Chisaki yusha-tachi)

A complimentary screening for the neighborhood of Turtle Bay and beyond, for the entire family to enjoy.

Director Miwa Nishikawa (Wild Berries and Sway) discusses her filmmaking process as it relates to an industry undergoing drastic change. Moderated by Marian Masone of the Film Society at Lincoln Center.


Enjoy drinks and snacks between and after the films!

Japan Cuts is supported by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund, The Japan Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency.

Additional support is provided by Sapporo USA, Inc. Transportation assistance provided by All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd.

Support for the Special Student Discount is provided by The Globus Family.

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