FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ACA Cinema Project: New Films from Japan presents
A film by Keisuke Yoshida
A film by Yujiro Harumoto
IFC Center March 11-17, 2022
March 11-17, 2022
New York, NY (February 17, 2022) – Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan (ACA) announce the third ACA Cinema Project series: New Films from Japan organized as part of a “Japan Film Overseas Expansion Enhancement Project”, in collaboration with the IFC Center and Visual Industry Promotion Organization (VIPO) with theatrical engagements of Yujiro Harumoto’s A Balance and Keisuke Yoshida’s Blue, Mar. 11-17, 2022 (IFC Center, New York).
Winner of the New Current Award at the Busan International Film Festival and an official selection at Berlinale, Yujiro Harumoto’s second feature film, A Balance stars Kumi Takiuchi as a documentary director reporting on the true-life scandal of student-teacher relationship with fraught societal consequences.
ACA Cinema Project is proud to introduce U.S. audiences to the best of recent Japanese cinema including Keisuke Yoshida’s Blue, a gripping boxing drama starring Kenichi Matsuyama, Masahiro Higashide and Fumino Kimura, appearing on-screen together for the first time since Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow. Earning the title of “The Master of Psychological Drama” Yoshida was honored with a special Director in Focus program at 2021’s Tokyo International Film Festival.
Blue ©2021 “BLUE” Film Partners
Director: Keisuke Yoshida
2021, 107min. In Japanese with English subtitles
Starring Kenichi Matsuyama, Fumino Kimura, Tokio Emoto, Masahiro Higashide
Inspired by his real-life decades long boxing background, director Keisuke Yoshida also pens the script depicting the uncertainty behind an athlete’s often-unrewarded dedication, tears and sweat. Competition rises between Urita (Kenichi Matsuyama) who loves boxing more than anyone and his younger rival, Ogawa (Masahiro Higashide), whose outstanding talent and style have brought him on the verge of becoming Japan’s national champion. Urita’s first love Chika (Fumino Kimura) is now engaged to Ogawa further straining interpersonal relationships caught between ideals and reality.
A highlight of the film is the interactions between the three, who are appearing on-screen together for the first time since Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow.
“Blue” is an idyllic love letter to the world of combative sports. A wonderfully crafted drama with strong performances.” -Asian Movie Pulse
“A boxing movie that dispenses with many of the conventions typical to the genre, not least the idea that life’s problems can be solved in the ring.” –Japan Times
Keisuke Yoshida’s Profile: YOSHIDA Keisuke (born in 1975) graduated from the Tokyo Visual Arts film school and worked as a lighting engineer on films by director Shinya Tsukamoto. In 2006 he made his directorial debut with the youth drama Raw Summer,and was awarded with the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival Grand Prix. He then published a novel and later filmed it as the quirky father-daughter comedy Café Isobe (2008). His other films include Tsukue no nakami (2007), Sankaku (2010), The Workhorse & the Bigmouth (2013), My Little Sweet Pea (2013), Silver Spoon (2014), Himeanole (2016), Thicker Than Water (2018), Come on Irene (2018), Blue (2021) and Intolerance (2021).
A Balance ©A BALANCE Film Partners
Director: Yujiro Harumoto
2020, 152 min. In Japanese with English subtitles.
Starring Kumi Takiuchi, Ken Mitsuishi, Masahiro Umeda, Yuumi Kawai
Documentary director Yuko (Kumi Takiuchi) doesn’t doubt the reality of the world she sees through her camera’s lens, but when her father commits a grave error of judgment, she is forced to switch sides and abandon her role as an observer to become a participant in a morally challenging story. The boundaries between work and family, reality and ideals, beliefs and truths become blurred, and the world Yuko knew begins to veer in unexpected directions. As a filmmaker who has prided herself on maintaining a healthy distance while faithfully documenting what she sees and hears, what irreversible choices will Yuko ultimately make?
Winner Busan International Film Festival, New Currents Award Official Selection Berlinale 2021
“Revealing… a bracingly unsentimental picture which asks knotty questions about the relationship between the media and the subjects at which it points its cameras.”
– Screen International
“Yujiro Harumoto directs a film that works on a number of levels, all of which are analyzed thoroughly and artfully, and eventually interconnect in the most impressive way, through a truly shocking story” –Asian Movie Pulse
Yujiro Harumoto’s Profile: Born in Kōbe, Japan in 1978, he studied at the Nihon University College of Art. He gained his first experience in the directing department at Shochiku Kyoto Studio under the aegis of filmmakers such as Akira Inoue and Shigeru Ishihara. He also worked on several historical films and series. His debut feature film, Going the Distance, which he also produced, wrote and edited, screened at festivals including the Tokyo International Film Festival, Camera Japan in the Netherlands and the Seoul International Agape Film Festival and won several awards. “A Balance” is his second film.
About the ACA Cinema Project
The ACA Cinema Project is a new initiative organized as part of the “Japan Film Overseas Expansion Enhancement Project,” an ongoing project founded by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan (ACA) to create opportunities for the increased exposure, development and appreciation of Japanese cinema overseas through screenings, symposiums and other events held throughout the year. The ACA Cinema Project introduces a wide range of Japanese films in the United States, a major center of international film culture, together with the local partners such as the IFC Center and the Japan Society.
1st edition: 21st CENTURY JAPAN: Films from 2001-2020
2nd edition: Flash Forward: Debut Works and Recent Films by Notable Japanese Directors
IFC Center program webpage https://www.ifccenter.com/series/aca-japan-2022
Ticketing: – adults: $17
– seniors and children: $14
– IFC members: $12
– students: $13 (must show valid student ID at the box office)
ACA cinema project postcard coupon gives you a $4 discount as well.
Screenings take place at IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave. (at West 3rd St.)