The Dark Side of the Sun: John Zorn on Japanese Cinema

Japan Society NYCIf you’ll be in the NYC area or are planning on going to NYC sometime in the near future, you may want to check out this film series which will be curated by avant-garde musician John Zorn. This series will be running from October 2014 – February 2015 (one film highlighted each month) and its goal is to bring to light lesser-known or overlooked works from six Japanese directors.

It’s definitely a diverse range of titles from a pink film to animated shorts to a short film commissioned by a car company, and if you follow Japanese cinema at all, you may have heard of some of these directors or at least some of their more popular films, i.e. Kazoku Game aka The Family Game, which really is brilliantly done.

October 18

Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands directed by Atsushi Yamatoya

A hitman is hired to find a woman.  That’s a new one. Who would have though to hire a hitman to uncover the whereabouts of a missing person instead of using them to kill people?

November 15

Crossroads directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa

This is a silent film following the tragedy of unrequited love. If you’re worried about the fact that it’s a silent film, don’t be. If you go you’ll get to hear live shamisen music from experimental shimisen player Yumiko Tanaka.

December 11

Top Stripper directed by Yoshimitsu Morita who you may know from the iconic 1983 film The Family Game (which was made into a Japanese drama in 2013 starring Sakurai Sho).

The film is a pink film, so definitely not one to bring the kiddies to. The plot revolves around a young man who falls for a stripper.

January 23

Matango (aka Attack of the Mushroom People) directed by kaiju master Ishiro Honda.

The plot alone has me laughing. This could be a fun film in respects to the plot. Some Tokyo elites get stranded on an island and must deal with in fighting, hunger, and attacks of menacing mushroom people. And for some reason hearing the plot, I go back to my childhood and the iconic Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Loved that cartoon. This isn’t a cartoon by the way, it’s a live action movie.

February 20

The final part of this series is a short film showcase. First off they have It’s Me Here, Bellet. Apparently this short film directed by Nagisa Oshima was commissioned by the Isuzu Car Company and produced by the Directors Guild of Japan.

That film will be preceded by 8 experimental shorts by Osamu Tezuka, the “godfather of anime.”

A little something for everyone in this Japanese movie feast. Full information, plus ticket purchasing, can be found here:

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