Japan Society New York will celebrate the work of late director Shinji Somai who remains criminally neglected outside of his home nation with the first North American retrospective running April 28 to May 13. Featuring seven of the director’s features, the series showcases both the teen idol movies with which he may be most closely associated internationally, and gritty adult dramas such as The Catch and Love Hotel.
Friday, May 12 at 7:00 PM
Shinji Somai’s 1983 opus of fishermen at home on the waves and at sea on land is a complex examination of masculinity but also of fatherhood in a rapidly declining world filled with arcane ritual and ancient thought. Review.
Saturday, April 29 at 5:00 PM
Melancholy drama following the turbulent romantic relationship between a failed businessman pursued by yakuza and the former sex worker with whom he shared a traumatic night some years previously. Review.
Friday, May 5 at 8:30 PM / Saturday, May 13 at 2:00 PM
Fable-like tale of a mountain man who comes to the city in search of the girlfriend who never came home after leaving to study accounting. Sucked into a bizarre underworld of gladiatorial floorshows and voiceless opera singers, he quickly finds himself lost in the soulless metropolis of Bubble-era Tokyo.
Saturday, April 29 at 2:00 PM / Saturday, May 13 at 5:00 PM
Classic teen movie in which a trio of school friends set off to rescue their school bully after he’s kidnapped by yakuza. Starring a young Masatoshi Nagase in his film debut. Review.
Sailor Suit and Machine Gun
1982 Complete Version on Saturday, April 29 at 7:00 PM; Theatrical Cut on Friday, May 5 at 6:00PM.
Iconic teen drama starring Hiroko Yakushimaru as a high school girl who unexpectedly inherits a yakuza clan when her father dies suddenly and finds herself trying to contend with adolescent angst and underworld intrigue. Review.
Saturday, May 13 at 7:30 PM
Somai’s Bubble-era exploration of idol exploitation has an almost prescient quality in its otherwise fantasy-driven tale of an aspiring model killed after diving out of a car to escape a lascivious exec but then given a second chance to live a “normal” life. Review.
Friday, April 28 at 7:00 PM
Seminal teen drama in which a collection of high school students experience a literal storm of adolescence while trapped in their school thanks to a severe typhoon.
Rites of Passage: The Films of Shinji Somai runs at Japan Society New York April 28 to May 13. Tickets priced at $15 / $12 students & seniors, and $10 Japan Society Members (Typhoon Club + Opening Night Party: $18/$15/$14) are on sale now via the official website while you can also keep up with all the year-round events by following Japan Society Film on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.