New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) 2017

This weekend concludes the 2017 New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), which offered another amazing lineup of films and special guests.  This is the 16th year of its running, and it just seems to get better over time.  I saw two of the Japanese films screened at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, the festival’s venue, and another two I had seen on the plane during a recent business trip to Japan ...

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NY Japan Cinefest 2017

Last night I attended the first night of the 6th annual NY Japan CineFest 2017 at Asia Society.  This is one of my favorite cinematic events in the city, as it is a compilation of Japan-related short films.  As usual, there were many thought-provoking selections ranging from documentary to futuristic to artistic. My favorite was Wasabi from director Bunji Sotoyama, which stars Kyoko Yoshine who you might recognize...

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Silence

Last night I attended a screening of Martin Scorsese’s new film Silence, based on the 1966 novel 沈黙 (Chinmoku) by Shusaku Endo, himself a Japanese Catholic.  It is the story of a Jesuit missionary sent to 17th century Japan, who is played with great nuance by Andrew Garfield.  He and his followers endure horrible persecution during this period when 隠れキリシタン (Kakure Kirishitan or Hidden Christians) are targeted for their beliefs.  Having lived in Kyushu I had a vague sense of what had taken ...

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Happy Hour at MoMA

Back in March I didn’t have time to blog about my participation in the New Directors New Films festival held at Lincoln Center, but I had the chance to interpret for director Ryusuke Hamaguchi when his epic film Happy Hour was screened there.  With a run time of 317 minutes it is not for the meek...

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JAPAN CUTS 2016 comes to a close

This weekend marks the end of the 2016 JAPAN CUTS film festival.  Due to a business trip midway through I wasn’t around as much as I would have liked, but I was able to attend the beginning and end to see some fantastic films. Last night featured Tatsuya Mori’s FAKE, which looks at the 2014 controversy surrounding self-taught classical composer Mamoru Samuragochi...

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JAPAN CUTS 2016!

Last week kicked off the 10th year of the Japan Cuts at Japan Society, and if the initial films are any indication this year’s lineup looks as stellar as the nine previous.  The opening film was Mohican Comes Home, and was introduced by director Shuichi Okita and co-star Atsuko Maeda.  They were also both on-hand for a post-screening Q&A, where they revealed behind-the-scenes stories about filming...

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New York Japan Cinefest

Last week I had a chance to check out the 5th annual New York Japan Cinefest, whose mission is to introduce Japanese themed films and discover new talent in filmmaking.  In the past I have attended this festival hosted at Asia Society and always loved it, and this year too did not disappoint.  I made it to the first night of this two night event, which showcased six short films varying in length from 5 to 40 minutes...

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Round Trip Heart / Our Little Sister

A business trip to Japan prevented me from viewing the majority of the films at this year’s Japan Cuts at Japan Society, but I was able to catch Round Trip Heart (ロマンス) during the festival’s opening week.  Starring Yuko Oshima best known as a singer from the idol group AKB48, this film tells the story of an emotionally lost young woman whose job is to serve refreshments on board the train servicing the hot springs area of Hakone just outside Tokyo. 

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NY Asian Film Festival

This year’s NY Asian Film Festival is showcasing 11 films as part of its focus on new cinema from Japan.  I had the chance to catch two of them, Permanent Nobara (パーマネント野ばら) and Chasuke’s Journey. The former flick stars the drama and film fixture Miho Kanno and the seemingly non- aging Yosuki Eguchi in a story set...

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Japanese Stars in Recent American Cinema

Lately there have been a bonanza of films being screened here in the city made by American directors starring Japanese actors. One is Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, currently playing at IFC, Nitehawk Cinema and BAM.  It features the ever fabulous Rinko Kikuchi as a discontent OL who is dealing with a harassing boss, insipid colleagues and a mother who is nagging her to get married.  She is totally disconnected from the world around her, with her only salvation being her pet bunny and her...

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Cape Nostalgia

I’ve been on the road for the majority of this month, and have been glad to escape the cold weather.  Now that March is around the corner, hopefully temps will warm up and we can look forward to spring and sakura season!  I was lucky enough to finish my business trip in Honolulu, which as usual was flooded with Japanese tourists, and took a vacation afterwards in Kauai...

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Japan Cuts!

This weekend wrapped up Japan Society’s annual film festival Japan Cuts, and all of the films that I caught out of the 28 presented this year were wonderful.  I particularly enjoyed the opening film on the first Friday of the festival, The Snow White Murder Case (白ゆき姫殺人事件).  This movie made its U.S. premiere, and told the story of the murder of a beautiful young office worker. 

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Top 5 Japanese Scary Movies

With Halloween fast approaching, we thought we'd take a shot at naming the top 5 scariest Japanese movies of all time. After discussing with both our teachers and students, here's a general list that we came up with for you to watch this coming Halloween. Just in case your favorite isn't here, please either post a comment on this article or you can visit our Facebook Page this week to place your vote on our choices.

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