‘Killers’ invade: Indonesian-Japanese co-produced film added to Japan CUTS 2014 lineup

Already diverse and eclectic, the 2014 Japan CUTS film festival in New York City (which begins July 10th through the 20th) has recently added the psychological-thriller Killers to its lineup.

Co-produced by Japanese film studio Nikkatsu and the Indonesian Guerilla Merah-Films, Killers follows the exploits of a Japanese serial killer named Nomura (played by Kazuki Kitamura) who uploads footage of his tortures and murders onto the internet. Nomura’s snuff films fascinate an Indonesian journalist named Bayu (played by Oka Antara), who in turn begins to kill and upload his murderous acts onto the internet as well. Nomura soon becomes aware of Bayu’s work, leading to a dark and twisted confrontation between both men.

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Japan CUTS 2014 unsheathes a lineup of cutting edge films

 

Photo courtesy of 2013 “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” film partners

Photo courtesy of 2013 Why Don’t You Play in Hell? film partners

Fans of Japanese film, clear your schedules for July 10-20 as you’ll undoubtedly want to attend the 8th annual Japan CUTS film festival held at the Japan Society in New York City.

For 10 days, the Japan Society will become a mecca for Japanese cinephiles as the Japan CUTS 2014 festival will screen 27 films from the Land of the Rising Sun – including works by such notable Japanese directors as Sion Sono, Takashi Miike, Katsuhito Ishii and Hideo Nakata.

Though often difficult to assemble, Programmer for Japan CUTS 2014 Joel Neville Anderson stressed the importance of having a diverse collection of films presented at the festival.

“Curating festivals of a national cinema is necessarily problematic, swinging between exhaustive cultural surveys or limited selections of titles with international arthouse appeal, between a lineup that is representative and one that is exceptional,” Anderson said in a press release issued by Japan Society.

Anderson said the “tactic” at Japan CUTS has always been to place a heavy emphasis on “diversity” in the films they curate.

“This is especially so this year,” he said.

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Film lineup for 16th annual Boston Underground Film Festival has been announced

Bacchus-statueThe fine folks at the Boston Underground Film Festival have announced the lineup for their 16th annual event (BUFF16) and fans of Asian underground cinema are in for several treats.

Japanese director Sion Sono, a Lost in the Miso favorite, will be having his 2013 film Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (Click the link to see the trailer!) screened at the event. Word has it that the film is less like his recent, more serious work (Himizu and The Land of Hope) and more akin to his audaciously over-the-top four hour epic Love Exposure. BUFF16 offers this synopsis of Why Don’t You Play in Hell?:

“A renegade film crew becomes embroiled with a yakuza clan feud in this bloody ode to 35mm cinema, the thirty-first feature film from Japan’s prolific provocateur auteur Sion Sono.”

Japanese cinema will also be represented at BUFF16 with the 1974 cult classic and Japanese exploitation film School of the Holy Beast. BUFF16 says of the film:

“A young nun seeks to uncover the dark secrets of the Sacred Heart Convent in this nunsploitation classic. School of the Holy Beast is as blasphemous and shocking as it is artistically stunning.” 

The writer of the violently schlocky Tokyo Gore Police, Maki Mizui, will have his directorial debut Kept screened at BUFF16.

The Japanese short film The Tale of Love Suicide, directed by Ken Hirata, will also be showing.

The Philippines also gets some BUFF16 love with EDSA XXXthe latest film by Filipino director Khavn. BUFF16 describes the film as:

“Nothing ever changes in the ever-changing Republic of Ek-Ek-Ek. The year is 2030. The place is a Filipino bizarro-future akin to Biff Tannen’s 1985 (but with more palm trees).”

These five films are clearly enough reason for any Boston-area fan of Asian cinema to attend this year’s Boston Underground Film Festival. I’ve personally attended the festival in the past and I can highly encourage anyone in the greater Boston area to support the great work being done by the people at BUFF.
BUFF16 starts Wednesday, March 26 and ends Sunday, March 30, and films are shown at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, MA.
I hope to see you there!

 

Sion Sono’s ‘Why Don’t You Play In Hell?’ teaser trailer is deliciously demented!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Sion Sono is one of the most prolific directors in the world and, damn, he’s been on a roll the last few years.

The 34-second teaser trailer to Sono’s new film Why Don’t You Play in Hell? features samurai, yakuza, operatic music, guns, katana and blood. Oh lots of blood.

Sono’s last two films Himizu and Land of Hope, were rather tonally serious – both films dealt with the after effects of the 2008 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan.  Why Don’t You Play in Hell? is not, judging by this awesome blood-soaked 34 second teaser, a continuation of the mature themes found in his previous work. Oh hell no. This just looks like bloody good fun.

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? is opening in Japan on September 28.

Check out the trailer:

Source: Twitch

Sion Sono will use YouTube to find actors for his next film, ‘Tokyo Tribes’

Photo courtesy of www.YesAsia.com

Santa Inoue’s manga Tokyo Tribes will be getting a live-action treatment by none other than Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono (Himizu, Noriko’s Dinner Table and Suicide Club).

The even bigger news?

Sono has created a YouTube channel that will hold open auditions for anyone interested in being casted in a role.

Those who visit the Tokyo Tribe open audition channel on YouTube will find Sono and Inoue in two introductory videos as well two sample audition videos.

Tokyo Tribes, originally a manga and later an anime, tells the story of a future Tokyo where street gangs, or “tribes,” battle for supremacy. For those concerned that Sono, whose last few films have included his transgressive “Hate” trilogy (Love Exposure, Coldfish and Guilty of Romance) as well as Himizu and The Land of Hope which both deal with the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011, has sold out by choosing to direct a film adaptation of a popular manga and anime, well, don’t worry. Sono’s choice to cast his film via YouTube auditions shows he is as unconventional as ever.

Sources:  Nippon Cinema and Twitchfilm

Sion Sono’s ‘Guilty of Romance’ is coming to the Boston Underground Film Festival!

Photo Courtesy of www.fareastfilms.com

It’s March everyone, and that means the BUFF (Boston Underground Film Festival) is gearing up to showcase another stellar collection of bizarre, wacky and visceral films from around the world!

The big news for us who are obsessed with Japanese cinema? Well, Japanese auteur Sion Sono will have his 2011 film Guilty of Romance screened at this year’s BUFF event.

The festivals website, http://www.bostonunderground.org, describes Guilty of Romance as, “an eerie, boundary-pushing thriller from one of Japan’s masters of suspense. Always unorthodox, this acclaimed international gem starts off with a bang, as a dead body leads investigators to a demure housewife, leading a secret life as a nude model.”

Photo Courtesy of Eureka Entertainment

Sono’s been on a bit of a roll as of late. His 2008 film Love Exposure drew rave reviews from around the world and made it on many best of the year lists. The four-hour film is one of my personal favorites.

Sono then released the macabre, somewhat-based-on-true-life events film Cold Fish, which continued to raise the director’s international profile.

For more information about BUFF, go check out their website: http://bostonunderground.org/ and make sure to support them.