Japan Society’s 13th Japan Cuts festival is poised to kick off its nine-day event on July 19. Screening among nearly 30 feature films, ranging from a variety of titles amid multiple genres to be announced on June 11 will be the festival’ss Centerpiece Presentation: Japanese film auteur Shinya Tsukamoto whose new period sword drama, Killing, on July 24.
Killing is described as a subversive samurai drama from influential cult director Shinya Tsukamoto that the filmmaker has described as a “scream” in response to the current state of the world. The film has been widely received at festivals since premiering last summer in Venice with international sales firm Nikkatsu shepherding sales rights.
Nikkatsu also recently acquired the rights to Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989), Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992), Tokyo Fist (1995), Bullet Ballet (1998), A Snake Of June (2002), Vital (2004), Haze (2005) and Kotoko (2011), and The Adventure Of Denchu-Kozo (1987).
The festival will grant Tsukamoto with the coveted 2019 CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film prior to the premiere screening which will also host a Q&A with the director himself. Germany’s Nippon Connection film festival just screened Killing among three of his works, and handed Tsukamoto with the Nippon Honor Award just this month.
Since 2012, festival organizers have presented the CUT ABOVE Award to recognize the exceptional work of individual performers and directors in recent Japanese cinema. Past recipients include Koji Yakusho, Toshiaki Toyoda, Kazuki Kitamura, Sakura Ando, Lily Franky and Kirin Kiki.
A groundbreaking filmmaker who pioneered the Japanese cyberpunk genre in 1989 with his iconic debut Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Tsukamoto has been consistently creating innovative independent genre films with a singularly bold visual style for three decades. In addition to directing, Tsukamoto is often also credited as an actor, producer, writer, editor, art director and cinematographer for his films. Recently, he has had scene stealing roles as an actor in Shin Godzilla (2016) and Martin Scorsese’s Silence (2016).
“It’s difficult to overstate Shinya Tsukamoto’s significance as a filmmaker and his immense influence on Japanese cinema,” says Kazu Watanabe, Deputy Director of Film at Japan Society. “A fiercely independent auteur with a consistently uncompromising vision, he has managed to stay true to himself while breaking new ground with every film. We are proud to present Killing as the JAPAN CUTS 2019 Centerpiece Presentation, his first period film and a profound examination of violence.”
Additionally, Tsukamoto will tend to a 35mm print import screening and audience Q&A of his cult hit Bullet Ballet (1998) on Thursday, July 25 for the “Classics: Rediscoveries & Restorations” section. The festival’s JAPAN CUTS Encore early on will be the presentation of Audience Award winner Born Bone Born on Friday, June 14 at 7:00 pm.
Tickets go on sale for at Japan Society on June 18. Head over to japansociety.org for more info.