Jun 30

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here. 

After the outdoor fireworks, enjoy some summer events in the cool indoors, whether it’s taking in North America’s largest annual Japanese film festival, checking out a Kurosawa or Studio Ghibli classic, or enjoying an anime con, Brooklyn-style!

This month’s highlights include:

Janus Films

July 5-18

Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai

Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street

$11 members, $17 general

The epic 1954 masterpiece returns to the big screen, remastered for the very first time in 4K by Toho! In 16th century Japan, as proud samurai end up as masterless, wandering ronin and farmers are terrorized by marauding bandits, a village patriarch counsels resistance. How? Hire samurai, “hungry samurai.” Under the calm leadership of Takashi Shimura (Kurosawa regular and Ikiru and Godzilla star), that magic number enlist for a war against 40 mounted bandits, winding up at the most hair-raising battle ever filmed. One of the most influential films of all time, but nothing can top the original: Kurosawa’s orchestration of swords, spears, arrows, men, horses, rain, wind, and mud; blazing tracking shots; giant close ups; chiaroscuro lighting; telephoto lenses that put us underfoot as horses crash amid struggling men; deep focus shots that render the tip of a sword poking into the lens equally clear with scurrying figures fifty feet away, transitions that effortlessly whip us from scene to scene; and ensemble performances that give three dimensionality to every character, topped by Toshiro Mifune’s eventual transition from manic goofball to tortured, self-hating tragic hero. Voted in the 1979 Kinema Junpo critics poll as the Best Japanese Film ever.

Courtesy of Japansociety.org

July 10-21

JAPAN CUTS 2024

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street 

$5-$25, based on film category/event

North America’s largest festival of contemporary Japanese film returns for its 17th year this summer at Japan Society! Join us July 10-21 for 30+ curated films from across Japan featuring major blockbusters, indie darlings, up-and-coming filmmakers, restorations, documentaries, experimental and short films, and anime. JAPAN CUTS is a showcase of the latest in Japanese cinema, featuring both today’s most popular actors and directors as well as tomorrow’s pioneering talent. Become part of our passionate filmgoer community for premieres, parties, and celebrity guests in the heart of America’s biggest city! This year’s festival features three International Premieres, 14 North American Premieres, five U.S. Premieres, three East Coast Premieres and four New York Premieres, plus three parties during the course of the festivities!

“We couldn’t be more amazed by this year’s festival,” says Peter Tatara, Director of Film at Japan Society, who organized this year’s festival with Japan Society Film Programmer Alexander Fee. “This year’s JAPAN CUTS presents an abundance of powerful, engaging and unexpected films together with rare appearances from some of their most imaginative creators. JAPAN CUTS is a reflection of the breadth of Japan’s contemporary film industry, and this year absolutely celebrates the scope and storytelling of what Japanese cinema brings to the world.”

Leading this year’s guests, JAPAN CUTS will present acclaimed actor Mirai Moriyama (Shadow of Fire) with the CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film and acting legend Tatsuya Fuji (Great Absence) with a Lifetime Achievement Award! Further guests include directors Gakuryu Ishii (The Box Man), Ema Ryan Yamazaki (The Making of a Japanese), Kei Chika-ura (Great Absence), Masanori Tominaga (Between the White Key and the Black Key), Noriko Yuasa (Performing KAORU’s Funeral), Shinya Tsukamoto (Shadow of Fire), and actress Tomoko Tabata (Moving)! Click here for tickets to all films, and here for the complete list of special guests. 

GKIDS

July 13-17 

Princess Mononoke

Various locations

Various prices

From the legendary Studio Ghibli, creators of Spirited Away, and Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki comes an epic masterpiece that has dazzled audiences worldwide with its breathtaking imagination, exhilarating battles, and deep humanity. Inflicted with a deadly curse, the young warrior Ashitaka heads west in search of a cure. There, he stumbles into a bitter conflict between Lady Eboshi, the proud people of Iron Town, and the enigmatic Princess Mononoke, a young girl raised by wolves, who will stop at nothing to prevent the humans from destroying her home and the forest spirits and animal gods who live there. The English-language version features the voice talents of Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Billy Bob Thornton (July 14 and 16 screenings).

Courtesy of Eileen Level

Saturday, July 20, 11 a.m.–9:00 p.m. 

AniTOMO Con 2024

Japan Village, 934 3rd Avenue (Brooklyn)

Free

AniTOMO Con 2024 is a high-energy, one-day convention crafted by BIPOC trailblazing voices. Where Brooklyn meets Japan, experience an engaging event filled with captivating panels, special performances, and hands-on activities. Immerse yourself in a celebration of manga, anime, gaming, fashion, cosplay, and the rich tapestry of Japanese culture! Register for FREE here.

Courtesy of Sonyhall.com

Tuesday, July 23, 8:00 p.m.

Orianthi with DJ Alex Kayne

Sony Hall, 235 West 46th Street

$49-$79

Orianthi could not have known when she picked up a guitar at the age of 6, her life would never be the same. Her instant affinity for the instrument (and her father’s record collection of guitar rock legends like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana) quickly grew into a full-blown love affair. Born into a Greek family in the southern Australian town of Adelaide, she had grown up surrounded by music and began to play piano at age three. Few people discover their destiny so early in life and stay on that same path. 2022 brings her latest album Rock Candy, written and recorded at iconic L.A. studio Sunset Sound. Featuring a number of amazing guest artists, this album also includes long-time friend, and Emmy nominated music maestro, Michael Bearden and Emmy Award-winning composer, songwriter, producer, and multi- instrumentalist, Jacob Bunton. With support from DJ Alex Kayne.

For more JQ articles, click here.


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