Film

Previous
Next

21st Century Japan: Films from 2001-2020

ACA Project ACA Logo Japan Society


Online Film Series
FEBRUARY 5—25, 2021


As Japan’s film industry enters its third decade in the new millennium, this 30-film online series takes a look back at the last 20 years of Japanese cinema to celebrate some of the most remarkable narrative fiction films and filmmakers that define the era. Covering a wide range of production styles and genres—from small budget independent debuts to festival favorites and award-winning major studio releases—this diverse slate of feature and short films offers a guided tour of modern Japanese cinema, including special spotlights dedicated to the work of Kiyoshi Kurosawa and a selection of breakout films by up-and-coming filmmakers. Co-presented by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in collaboration with Visual Industry Promotion Organization.

All films available to stream on film.japansociety.org.

Visit the Film Streaming Site →

Tickets
$8-$12 for 3-day rental per film
(Available for purchase starting February 5)

Members: 20% off all purchases via coupon code
Not a member? Join today!


Full Lineup

Red Post on Escger Street
Special Screening

Red Post on Escher Street

2020. 148 min. Directed by Sion Sono.

Online U.S. Premiere. The latest from Sion Sono is a brazenly tongue-in-cheek portrait of the Japanese film industry centered on a filmmaker who holds open auditions for his next film. Co-presented with Grasshopper Film.

COMEDY, DRAMA

Shape of Red
Special Screening

Shape of Red

2020. 123 min. Directed by Yukiko Mishima.

Online U.S. Premiere. An unfulfilled housewife throws herself into a passionate love affair with an old flame that threatens to dismantle her entire life in this beautifully lensed and sensuous melodrama.

DRAMA, ROMANCE

Listen to the Universe

Listen to the Universe

2019. 119 min. Directed by Kei Ishikawa.

Four young classical pianists compete to win in a high-stakes international competition in this domestic box office hit adapted from a bestselling novel that celebrates the intrinsic power of music.

DRAMA, MUSIC, FAMILY

Mori, The Artist’s Habitat

Mori, The Artist’s Habitat

2018. 99 min. Directed by Shuichi Okita.

A comically offbeat biopic depicting a day in the life of the enigmatic and reclusive artist Morikazu Kumagai, who never left his home during the last 30 years of his life.

COMEDY, BIOPIC

Miracles of the Namiya General Store

Miracles of the Namiya General Store

2017. 129 min. Directed by Ryuichi Hiroki.

Three teenage orphans stumble across a remarkable connection to the past within an abandoned small town general store in this nostalgia-fueled family drama adapted from the popular Keigo Higashino novel.

DRAMA, FAMILY, FANTASY

The Actor

The Actor

2016. 123 min. Directed by Satoko Yokohama.

An experienced actor of bit parts jumps from role to role while managing his attraction to a charming izakaya owner in this comical and fantastical tribute to the Japanese film industry.

COMEDY, ROMANCE

Fires on the Plain

Fires on the Plain

2015. 87 min. Directed by Shinya Tsukamoto.

Shinya Tsukamoto’s visceral adaptation of the classic war novel depicts the brutal degradation of an abandoned soldier in the Japanese Imperial Army during the desperate last days of WWII.

DRAMA, WAR

Still the Water

Still the Water

2014. 120 min. Directed by Naomi Kawase.

Naomi Kawase’s self-proclaimed masterpiece is a poignant and poetic coming-of-age tale that captures the emotional journey of two teenagers on the cusp of adulthood in the Japanese island of Amami-Oshima.

DRAMA

The Devil’s Path

The Devil’s Path

2013. 128 min. Directed by Kazuya Shiraishi.

A yakuza on death row reveals his sins to a journalist, including three unreported murders, with the hopes of getting vengeance on a former accomplice who walks free.

DRAMA, CRIME, THRILLER

The Drudgery Train

The Drudgery Train

2012. 114 min. Directed by Nobuhiro Yamashita.

A perpetual loner who works as a day laborer strikes a rapport with a new co-worker, leading to a series of offbeat adventures in 1980s Tokyo in this unconventional coming-of-age comedy.

COMEDY, DRAMA

Rebirth

Rebirth

2011. 147 min. Directed by Izuru Narushima.

Raised by her father’s lover for four years after being abducted as a baby, a young woman tries to reconcile her past in an attempt to ultimately find peace in this award-winning drama.

DRAMA

Confessions

Confessions

2010. 106 min. Directed by Tetsuya Nakashima.

A dark and stylish psychological thriller in which a grieving middle school teacher enacts vengeance on two students whom she suspects are responsible for the death of her four-year-old daughter.

DRAMA, CRIME, THRILLER

Air Doll

Air Doll

2009. 125 min. Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda.

An inflatable sex doll one day finds that she has grown consciousness and a heart, then takes off into the streets of Tokyo in search of human connection amidst the loneliness of urban life.

DRAMA, ROMANCE, FANTASY

One Million Yen Girl

One Million Yen Girl

2008. 121 min. Directed by Yuki Tanada.

In this endearing portrait of youthful resilience, a 21-year-old woman drifts from town to town across Japan taking odd jobs with the perpetual goal of earning one million yen before moving on.

DRAMA, COMEDY, TRAVELOGUE

Sakuran

Sakuran

2007. 111 min. Directed by Mika Ninagawa.

Sold into a brothel in 18th century Edo, a rebellious courtesan rises through the ranks over the years while constantly looking for a way out in this debut film by photographer Mika Ninagawa.

PERIOD FILM, DRAMA, ROMANCE

Sway

Sway

2006. 119 min. Directed by Miwa Nishikawa.

When a trip to a nearby ravine with a childhood friend turns into a tragedy, two brothers must come to terms with their fraught relationship and long-gestating resentments.

DRAMA, CRIME

The Great Yokai War

The Great Yokai War

2005. 124 min. Directed by Takashi Miike.

A young boy finds himself swept into a great spirit war after being chosen to protect the mythical yokai from a sinister evil that threatens human existence.

FANTASY, HORROR, ADVENTURE, FAMILY

Yoshino’s Barber Shop

Yoshino’s Barber Shop

2004. 96 min. Directed by Naoko Ogigami.

In a small countryside town in Japan, the lives of four fifth graders are forever changed when a new kid from Tokyo arrives with a cool haircut unlike their own.

COMEDY, FAMILY

Josee, The Tiger, and the Fish

Josee, The Tiger, and the Fish

2003. 116 min. Directed by Isshin Inudo.

In this genuinely moving drama, a college student falls for a young, strong-willed paraplegic woman, and the pair find their worldviews expanded and enriched through each other in unexpected ways.

DRAMA, ROMANCE

The Twilight Samurai

The Twilight Samurai

2002. 129 min. Directed by Yoji Yamada.

A low-ranking samurai in early Meiji era Japan must confront the expectations of his clan while fighting to keep his family from falling further into poverty in this late-period masterpiece from veteran director Yoji Yamada.

PERIOD FILM, DRAMA, ACTION

Hush!

Hush!

2001. 135 min. Directed by Ryosuke Hashiguchi.

In this landmark work of LGBTQ cinema, a gay couple are forced to confront their conflicting understandings of what it means to be in a committed relationship when a woman asks one of them to father her child.

COMEDY, DRAMA, ROMANCE

What Is Japanese Cinema in the 21st Century?
Talk

What Is Japanese Cinema in the 21st Century?


A compilation video in which participating filmmakers respond to questions prompting them to share their thoughts about the past 20 years of Japanese cinema as well as its future. Free.

 


Focus on Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Bright Future

Bright Future

2003. 115 min. Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

In this enigmatic and haunting vision of disaffected youth, two aimless friends—both obsessed with a deadly jellyfish—begin to unravel when their irritating employer aggressively seeks their company.

DRAMA, CRIME

Journey to the Shore

Journey to the Shore

2015. 128 min. Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

Three years after his disappearance, a dead husband returns to his wife, taking her on a spiritual journey to finally reconcile and come to terms with his passing.

DRAMA, FANTASY, ROMANCE

Real

Real

2013. 127 min. Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

A year after his longtime partner is left comatose from a suicide attempt, a young man enters her troubled psyche through an experimental process in a bid to bring her back to consciousness.

DRAMA, ROMANCE, SCI-FI

A Conversation with Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Talk

A Conversation with Kiyoshi Kurosawa


An in-depth conversation with Kiyoshi Kurosawa about his filmmaking career, guest moderated by writer and curator Abi Sakamoto with an introduction by writer, filmmaker and former New York Film Festival director Kent Jones. Free.

 


Filmmakers on the Rise

Blanka

Blanka

2015. 75 min. Directed by Kohki Hasei.

A savvy 11-year-old orphan begs and pickpockets in order to survive the streets of Manila while hoping to save enough money to “buy” a mother in this bittersweet drama. Free.

DRAMA

The Chicken

The Chicken

2020. 13 min. Directed by Neo Sora.

A Japanese immigrant and his visiting cousin traverse New York City one hot afternoon and are shaken up by a medical emergency on the street in this deftly directed short. Free.

DRAMA

Complicity

Complicity

2018. 116 min. Directed by Kei Chikaura.

An undocumented Chinese immigrant takes a job under an assumed identity and apprentices for an elderly soba maker who takes him under his wing. Free.

DRAMA

Lying to Mom

Lying to Mom

2019. 133 min. Directed by Katsumi Nojiri.

In this gently humorous family drama, a family gets caught up in an elaborate web of lies as they protect their mother from the knowledge that her son has committed suicide. Free.

DRAMA, COMEDY

Our House

Our House

2017. 80 min. Directed by Yui Kiyohara.

The lives of two sets of women occupying the same house yet existing in parallel worlds seemingly converge in this debut feature from Kiyoshi Kurosawa protegée Yui Kiyohara. Free.

DRAMA, FANTASY

Plan 75

Plan 75

2018. 18 min. Directed by Chie Hayakawa.

In this chilling work of speculative fiction, a government program facilitates the voluntary euthanasia of its senior citizens during an aging crisis in Japan. Free.

DRAMA, SCI-FI

21st Century Japan: Films from 2001-2020 is co-presented by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in collaboration with Visual Industry Promotion Organization. Series consultant: Aiko Masubuchi.

ACA VIPO

Japan Society's Film programs are generously supported by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Endowment Fund.

Additional season support is provided by The Globus Family, Masako H. Shinn, George Gallagher, Akiko Koide and Shohei Koide, David Toberisky, Geoff and Fumi Matters, Laurel Gonsalves, Masu Hiroshi Masuyama, Dr. Tatsuji Namba, David S. Howe, and Michael Romano.

Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines, the exclusive Japanese airline sponsor of Japan Society Film.

Calendar of Events

March 2021

S M T W Th F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      

eNews Sign-up

Stay informed about all Japan Society programs and events.
Subscribe Now

Follow Japan Society Film

facebook_30.jpg   facebook_30.jpg
Support the Film Program
All content © 2021, Japan Society, unless otherwise noted. |
333 East 47th Street New York, NY 10017 Phone: 212.832.1155 |
Credits | Press | Contact Us | Privacy Policy