The largest Japanese film festival in North America, Japanese Cuts, has officially unveiled its 2024 lineup. It includes exciting international premieres and classic restorations. Taking place in New York City from July 10 to 21, it boasts a slate of 30+ curated films showcasing the very best Japanese cinema has to offer.

Opening the festival is “Between the Black and White Keys,” a film based on the memoirs of jazz pianist Hiroshi Minami from director Masanori Tominaga – a Q&A with the director will follow the screening. Other films in the main lineup include: “Kyrie” from Shunji Iwai, taking place over ten years and following a street musician who communicates only through the song “Six Singing Women” from Yoshimasa Ishibashi, about a photographer forced to sell his remote childhood home after his father’s passing, only to find himself imprisoned by a group of mysterious women, and “Box Man” from Gakuryu Ishii, based on the absurdist book by legendary novelist Kobe Abe.

Takamasa Oe, famed for co-writing 2021’s “Drive My Car”, will premiere his film “Whale Bones”, about an office worker who becomes obsessed with trying to find his date who mysteriously disappears. “All the Long Nights” is from Sho Miyake and is a drama about two people with debilitating mental conditions pushing each other to live out normal lives. “Cha Cha” is a romantic comedy from Mai Sakai, “Ice Cream Fever” from Tetsuya Chihara follows the lives of four women as they intersect at an ice cream shop, and “Following the Sound” from Kyoshi Sugita will all have their North American premieres at the festival.

The main lineup is rounded out by “Kubi,” marking the big screen return of Takeshi Kianto in a passion project that sees him as director, producer, screenwriter, editor, and star, “Shin Godzilla: Orthochromatic,” a new black-and-white version of Anno and Higuchi’s modern classic “Shin Godzilla,” “Shadow of Fire” a chamber drama examining the chaotic atmosphere of post-war Japan, which will be followed by its star Mirai Moriyama being presented with the CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film, and “Great Absence” starring Tatsuya Fuji about a professor who seeks the company of his estranged son before his dementia worsens. Fuji will also be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The festival also offers audiences six independent features from emerging directors in the Next Generation slate, along with three documentaries and two shorts programmes. Finally, three Japanese classics will be returning to the big screen once again – 1995’s science-fiction film “August in the Water” from Gakuryu Ishii, who will feature in person at the event. 1993’s coming-of-age tale “Moving” by Shinji Somai and the fortieth anniversary of the crime thriller “Mermaid Legend” by Toshiharu Ikeda.

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