Japan Cuts 2013 Angles For A Darker Side Of New Japanese Cinema

Ben Umstead, East Coast Editor
Now in its seventh year, the New York Japan Society's Japan Cuts has built up quite the reputation for being the premiere showcase for new cinematic works from Japan, if not just for the east coast cinephiles, but the entirety of American appreciators. Their programming is nothing short of eclectic, offering the wackier, more fun-fueled or transgressive works with their co-partner New York Asian Film Festival, while presenting a slew of more somber and realist works on the back end, which rarely disappoint.

Taking a glance at this year's program prompts one to raise an eyebrow perhaps even more so than usual, as the 2013 slate covers some pretty dark territory, and most of it does not fall into fantasy genres. Chalk that up to cinema being a mirror of the greater reality and one remembers how troubling and harrowing a time the Japanese people have had these past few years. Although one could make the argument that Japanese cinema has remained so vital and potent on the world stage merely because its never shied away from putting the absolute hard truths on screen in riveting and engaging ways.

To give you a taste of what you can expect during the festival, which starts tonight and runs to the 21st, Peter Gutierrez, Dustin Chang, myself and guest contributor Steve Kopian from the undoubtedly cool Unseen Films, weigh in on a handful of this year's selection -- enjoy, and be sure to keep an eye out for full reviews from Japan Cuts 2013 in the coming days.