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.
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.
It’s been said, here and elsewhere, but it bears repeating: 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.
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 is looking to cast the roles for Tokyo Tribes via a YouTube channel that will hold open auditions for anyone interested in being in the film.
This would be a rather shocking decision for a director to make but this is Sion Sono we are talking about. His 2001 film Suicide Club opened with a scene that featured Japanese high school girls committing mass suicide by jumping in front of a moving subway train and one of his most accessible movies, 2008’s Love Exposure, had the marathon-length of nearly four hours.
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, had 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 auditions sent in by YouTube users shows that he is still as anti-establishment as ever.
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.