A stellar snapshot of recent Japanese cinema is coming next month to the Japan Society. Flash Forward: Debut Works and Recent Films by Notable Japanese Directors––which takes an intimate look at six of Japan’s most well-known directors: Naomi Kawase, Miwa Nishikawa, Shuichi Okita, Junji Sakamoto, Akihiko Shiota, and Masayuki Suo––will feature films available to stream nationwide from Dec. 3-23 and two in-person screenings in Japan Society’s auditorium on December 11 and 17. Ahead of the series, we’re pleased to exclusively debut the festival trailer.
Pairing each debut with a recent work, the series presents two distinct facets of each filmmaker’s career—encouraging dialogue and interplay as well as tracking the development of their signature voice. By drawing parallels and contrasts between past and present, Flash Forward illuminates the importance of these pivotal early works within each artist’s career.
Series highlights include Naomi Kawase’s 1997 debut Suzaku—a gorgeously-shot family drama that won the Cannes Camera d’or, making Kawase the youngest director to win the coveted prize; Akihiko Shiota’s Moonlight Whispers, a warped portrait of juvenile adolescence and unconditional love; and Shuichi Okita’s most recent effort, Ora, Ora Be Goin’ Alone, a surreal and whimsical exploration of loneliness. In addition, Junji Sakamoto and Masayuki Suo’s late 80s indie classics Knockout and Fancy Dance bring entertaining and eclectic perspectives to the worlds of boxing and buddhism, while Miwa Nishikawa’s dysfunctional character studies offer comically bleak cynicism (Wild Berries) or even possible redemption (The Long Excuse).
Japan Society is also presenting, in collaboration with the National Film Archive of Japan, two new 4K restorations of films by master filmmaker Sadao Yamanaka: Tange Sazen and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo, a North American premiere and Priest of Darkness, an International premiere—to screen exclusively on-site in Japan Society’s auditorium. A contemporary of Ozu and Naruse, Yamanaka died at the age of 28, leaving behind a small but acclaimed body of work. Imbued with an impassioned humanism, Yamanaka’s innate storytelling abilities—which shift effortlessly between comedy, drama, and tragedy—helped modernize the jidaigeki and inspired countless filmmakers including Akira Kurosawa, Seijun Suzuki, and Kazuo Kuroki.
Check out the exclusive trailer below and get tickets here.