Japan Society Film

Screening Japanese cinema from classics to contemporary premieres in NYC. Organizers of JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film since 2007. Films streaming at film.japansociety.org

Stories

Announcing 'Monthly Anime'!

Japan Society is pleased to announce the launch of Monthly Anime on April 15, 2022, which will launch with a screening of Mamoru Oshii’s seminal cyberpunk classic, Ghost in the Shell. Offering an eclectic range of classic, underseen, and contemporary visions from Japanese animation, Monthly Anime explores the widely influential legacy of anime. Tracing the lineage of anime from modern-day digital animation back to the days of hand-drawn cel animation, this program aims to uncover the multifaceted and remarkable variety…

Full Jan-April 'Monthly Classics' Lineup Announced!

Japan Society is pleased to announce the return of Monthly Classics on January 21, 2022, which will kick off with a 35mm screening of Akira Kurosawa’s lauded feudal epic, Kagemusha. A monthly showcase of beloved classics, hidden gems, and recent discoveries of Japanese cinema, the Monthly Classics’ January–April lineup is composed of must-see spectacles, all on celluloid, to commemorate a long-awaited return to regular film screenings in Japan Society’s auditorium.

Monthly Classics return on 1/21 with Kagemusha on 35mm!

Just Announced! Monthly Classics returns to Japan Society this month with Akira Kurosawa's lauded epic, Kagemusha—screening on 35mm on Jan. 21st! A majestic chronicle of a petty thief given another chance at life to serve as a double for an aging warlord, Kurosawa’s late-period masterpiece erupts into a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions—relaying a fable of fealty, duty and power against a backdrop of feudal Japan.

New Streaming Addition | Akihiko Shiota's Harmful Insect

We're excited to announce the addition of Akihiko Shiota's devastating Harmful Insect to our Flash Forward virtual lineup. Starring Aoi Miyazaki (Eureka) and Yu Aoi (Wife of a Spy), Shiota's acclaimed coming-of-age drama is available now to stream through December 23 at film.japansociety.org!

Recent reviews

Yasujiro Ozu’s late ’50s re-working of I was Born But… is a delightful comedy of manners, spurred on by an adolescent’s disdain for the pleasantries and proclivities of suburban Tokyo life. Taking an emphatic stance against their parents (and all adults, for that matter), Minoru and younger brother Isamu vow to remain silent until their parents purchase a television set. Poking fun at adult conversation—oftentimes buoyed by a meaningless sea of Konnichiwa’s, Ohayo’s and Konbanwa’s—Ozu’s gentle technicolor comedy takes aim…

A straight-to-DVD classic, the anime companion to The Matrix series received a limited number of theatrical screenings in 2003 as part of a promotional push for Reloaded. Rarely screened since, this dazzling and visually inventive tie-in laid the groundwork for franchise anthology spinoffs with its nine imaginative stories—directed by some of anime’s greatest luminaries including Ninja Scroll’s Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Cowboy Bebop’s Shinichiro Watanabe and Æon Flux’s Peter Chung. Expanding upon the series’ universe, this frenetic and imaginative addition to the Matrix franchise is anything but a lazy cash-grab and ranks as one of best Matrix films.

Screening on 35mm on May 27, 2022

Lost for decades, Asia is One was rediscovered in 2005. Shot around the time of the reversion, Asia is One initially begins by capturing shifting perceptions in Okinawa and economic developments—from the onset of increased tourism and cultural preservation, to the exodus of islanders migrating to the mainland for better opportunities whether for work, education or a better life. Composed of testimonials, Asia is One uncovers the history of labor abuse and exploitation by mainland mining companies since the 1930s…

Shot over a period of 15 months from April 1969 to July 1970, Motoshinkakarannu—which takes its name from the Okinawan word for “business without seed money” (a euphemism for prostitution)—captures a tumultuous time in Okinawa’s occupation. With the impending reversion, the NDU chronicles a confluence of sentiments across the island prefecture from anti-American riots to labor protests. An immediate and radical work, Motoshinkakarannu delivers an unflinching snapshot of Okinawa at the time, revealing racial tensions, discrimination, imperialist gazes and more…

Liked reviews

Identity was one of the most hated words inside the NDU, identity is a choking concept.

Formed in 1968 and disbanded in 1974, the Nihon Documentarist Union (NDU) was a fiercely leftist, Japanese filmmaking collective whose membership reportedly ranged from a handful of people to several hundred, depending upon the month and year. Though names of influential members are known, the collective eschewed the idea of self in both their films and writing, and in the way the NDU was…

Colonialism and Imperialism through the Okinawa lens. In the early minutes, this documentary feels overly academic and removed. Slowly, the oral history and shifting perspectives of the numerous interviews reveal a fascinating and compelling look at a variety of personal stories of 20th Century immigrant experiences - from Taiwan to Korea to Okinawa. It's all just glimpses, but they're rewarding nonetheless.

The variety of the various interviews end up creating an impressive editorial introduction to the subject matter, much like…

A messy and immersive collage-like documentary that manages to intertwine the cultural with the political. The wandering perspective, grunge black and white cinematography and loose editing create a chaotic yet purposeful piece of zeitgeist filmmaking. This is a solid piece of historical storytelling, providing a slight glimpse into the people and issues of 1969-1970 Okinawa. Love the how music and song are added, as well. It's disappointing several sections are missing the original audio.

"Things happen, but it was me who got myself into it."

*2022 Visions of Okinawa series, Japan Society

So happy I got to see this in a theater