New Japanese Films Get the Spotlight in NYC


The latest edition of the ACA Cinema Project series – New Films from Japan, comes to the IFC Center February 10-16 presenting five of the top films, critically acclaimed award winners and festival favorites from around the world over the course of the past year. Those films coming to New York City will include Kei Ishikawa’s A Man, Shô Miyake’s Small, Slow but Steady, Nao Kubota’s Thousand and One Nights, Yuji Nakae’s The Zen Diary, and Juichiro Yamasaki’s Yamabuki. Yamasaki will be making the trip to New York as well to participate in Q&As following the screenings of his film on Friday 2/10, and Saturday 2/11.

Katsura Toda, Senior specialist for the arts at Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs – Government of Japan, and the organizer of ACA Cinema Project said, “These films are among the outstanding works that Japan has produced last year, with each sharing a true artistic achievement in filmmaking. All five films demonstrate a nuanced approach to storytelling, beautifully shot, with wonderful performances across the board. We could not be more excited to give them this platform at the IFC Center in New York City.”

The diverse group of films include Kei Ishikawa’s A Man, which debuted at the Venice Film Festival. Adapted from the Keiichiro Hirano novel, the film looks at Japan’s “lost generation” via a troubled lawyer plunged into a web of mystery when he is asked to follow the trail of a deceased man who lived under a false identity. Shô Miyake’s Small, Slow but Steady, shot entirely on 16mm film, continues to receive rave reviews at over 13 international film festivals around the world, including Berlin. The film follows the emotional journey of a hearing-impaired young woman who is a talented boxer with natural instincts and abilities, who struggles to win when the aging boxing club president who was her biggest supporter can no longer be there for her in the same way. Nao Kubota’s Thousand and One Nights won the FIPRESCI Award at the Busan International Film Festival. The film connects two women caught in an uncertain place between grieving and acceptance due to the mysterious disappearances of their husbands in a small coastal island town.

Yuji Nakae’s The Zen Diary screened in the Culinary Cinema section of the San Sebastian International Film Festival and at the Hawaii International Film Festival. The film has attracted attention for the many delicious Zen dishes featured in the film in addition to its story about an author and cook living a solitary existence living off the land in the mountains, who finds he must face his own mortality while preparing food and writing his next manuscript. Juichiro Yamasaki’s Yamabuki was the first Japanese film ever to be selected for the ACID section of the Cannes International Film Festival. The film intersects multiple characters whose loneliness and frustrations with where their lives have taken them have bubbled to the surface. They include a former equestrian athlete working off crushing debt while trying to start a new family with a young mother, and a high school girl whose publicly staged protests inspiring community action put her at odds with her father, a widowed policeman.

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