Spurred on by the success of the 1970 Donald Richie-curated MoMA retrospective The Japanese Film: 1896-1969, Japan Society committed to making film one of its key programs in the early seventies—quickly becoming the premier venue for the exhibition of new Japanese cinema as well as career-spanning retrospectives on seminal directors and actors. In 1979, Japan Society established the Japan Film Center, formalizing film as a full-fledged, year-round program aimed at cultivating a deep appreciation and understanding of Japanese film culture among American audiences. Over the years, Japan Society Film has hosted numerous high-profile premieres and programs that include visits from Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune, Hideko Takamine, and Nobuhiko Obayashi. In 2007, Japan Society Film launched JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film, the largest festival of its kind in North America. Follow Japan Society Film on Letterboxd, Twitter and Instagram for Japanese cinema content and news about upcoming screenings.
Rites of Passage: The Films of Shinji Somai
Globus Film Series: April 28—May 13, 2023
Rites of Passage showcases the work of Shinji Somai, an iconic Japanese director who remains largely unrecognized in the West. A pioneering filmmaker in the 1980s—a period sometimes described as Japanese cinema’s lost decade—Somai has had a persistent influence on filmmakers that followed, including Shunji Iwai, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Ryusuke Hamaguchi. Encompassing a mix of genre and stylistic conventions from independent art dramas to idol vehicles, Somai’s films are tied together by his potent depictions of the turbulence and volatility of youth growing up in an increasingly chaotic world.
Rites of Passage: The Films of Shinji Somai is supported, in part, by a generous gift from The Globus Family.
Special Thanks to Bret Berg (AGFA); Ed McCarry (Cinema Guild); Miki Zeze (Kadokawa); Alo Joekalda (The National Film Archive of Japan); Mami Furukawa and Umi Yamamoto (Nikkatsu); Aya Takagawa (Shochiku).
Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Film programs are generously supported by ORIX Corporation USA, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and endowment support from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund. Additional season support is provided by The Globus Family, David Toberisky, Akiko Koide and Shohei Koide, Geoff and Fumi Matters, Laurel Gonsalves, and David S. Howe. Transportation assistance is provided by Japan Airlines, the exclusive Japanese airline sponsor of Japan Society Film.
Top Image: © Daphne Youree.