“Flash Forward: Debut Works and Recent Films by Notable Japanese Directors” is a hybrid in-person and online film event co-presented by Japan Society and the Agency for Cultural Affairs in association with Visual Industry Promotion Organization. The twenty-film series is now playing through December 23rd, 2021.
The program showcases the early efforts of now-established contemporary filmmakers, taking 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. 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, 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 proud to present, 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.
All in-person screenings will take place in Japan Society’s auditorium, located at 333 E. 47th Street in New York, NY. Full program information for both in person and online screening and ticketing can be found at Japan Society website For in-person attendance, please be sure to review Japan Society’s safety and health policies.