March 17-30, 2023


New Releases and Pittsburgh Premieres

Lessons in Murder

A Film By Kazuya Shiraishi
Thriller, 2022

This fantastic new Japanese crime thriller follows Masaya — a university student who receives letters from a serial killer he knew from childhood. Convicted of nine murders, the imprisoned killer insists he only committed eight. Can Masaya solve the mystery of the last murder, or is he just a pawn in a serial killers’ sick and twisted game?

Baby Assassins

A Film By Yugo Sakamoto
Action Comedy, 2021

This fun twist on the classic buddy comedy starts with Chisato and Mahilo — two high school girls who happen to both be highly skilled assassins — becoming roommates. The relationship between the pair quickly turns sour. However, when they find themselves targeted by the yakuza, the girls quickly realize that they will have to find a way to work together.

Oxhead Village

A Film By Takashi Shimizu
Horror, 2022

New from director Takashi Shimizu comes an eerie and creepy film you’d expect from a modern master of Japanese horror.  Having launched a social media prank about a haunted building, three girls suddenly vanish. Rumors circulate that they were victims of The Ox-Head Village curse, triggering an investigation by two of their friends, desperate to find the truth about what has happened…

Anime Supremacy!

A Film By Kohei Yoshino
Drama, 2022

A soft-spoken but strong willed animator gets her big break, but must compete with a legendary animator returning to the business for a Saturday primetime spot in this new live action comedy/drama about Japan’s anime industry. When the young animator challenges her hero-turned-rival on stage at an anime convention, the two production teams each set out to outdo one another, because there can only be one number-one!

One Night Screenings

Electric Dragon 80000 Volts

A Film By Gakuryû Ishii
Cult Classic, 2001

Opening Night

We’re opening the 2023 Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival with this wildly fun, comic-book style cult classic. A violent, guitar-playing, electrically charged boxer faces off against an electronic wizard half-merged with a metallic Buddha…. which is pretty much all you need to know!

Destroy All Monsters

A Film By Ishirô Honda
Kaiju, 1968

Closing Night

We are wrapping up two weeks of monster-movie fun the best way we know how — a Destroy All Monsters Brew & View! Ishirō Honda’s 1968 film takes place in 1999 when aliens release a whole crew of kaiju monsters — Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah, and more — onto major cities across the world. Thematically paired beer will be delivered to your seat at key points during the movie. 21+


Godzilla Vs Destoroyah

A Film By Takao Okawara
Kaiju, 1995

Enjoy very 1990s special effects in this Kaiju mega-movie. A burning Godzilla, on the verge of meltdown, emerges to lay siege to Hong Kong. At the same time horrifying new organisms are discovered in Japan. These crustacean-like beings are seemingly born of the Oxygen Destroyer, the weapon that killed the original Godzilla.

Gamera Vs Guiron

A Film By Noriaki Yuasa
Kaiju, 1969

Kaiju in space! Two young boys sneak aboard a spaceship and find themselves whisked away to the mysterious planet Terra in this campy monster movie romp. There, they encounter Gamera’s old foe Gyaos and two female aliens with a taste for human brains. Gamera must save the children and battle the new monster Guiron, whose entire body is a deadly living weapon.

Kaiju Films


A Film By Ishirō Honda‎
Japan, 1954

Before Godzilla fought Kong or Mothra in 4K, he rose out of the sea and changed sci-fi films forever as an allegory for the follies of a nuclear world. We’re showing the very first film in the iconic franchise. See Ishirô Honda’s original smash hit classic that brought to life the unstoppable dinosaur-like creature hell-bent on destroying Tokyo.


A Film By Ishirō Honda‎
Japan, 1969

Ishirō Honda introduced us to a more magical take on the kaiju genre with Mothra — a giant moth looking to protect its people. Survivors shipwrecked on a remote island discover a native population that worships a mythical deity called Mothra. After the island’s fairies priestesses are kidnapped by an exploitative businessman, Mothra journeys to Tokyo to rescue them at all costs. (1961)

Shin Godzilla

A Film By Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi
Japan, 2016

Did the world really need another Godzilla movie? Turns out… definitely yes. Directors Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi made Honda’s vision from 1954 explode on screen with amazing special effects, a fun and fast-moving plot, and a whole lot of destruction.

Anime and Master Directors

Pompo the Cinephile

A Film By Takayuki Hirao
Anime, 2021

Veteran animator Takayuki Hirao’s new film is a rollicking, exuberant ode to the power of the movies, and the joys and heartbreak of the creative process.  Pompo is a talented and gutsy producer in “Nyallywood,” the movie-making capital of the world. Although she’s known for B-movies, one day Pompo tells her movie-loving but apprehensive assistant that he will direct her next script. But when the production heads towards chaos, can he rise to her challenge, and succeed as a first-time director?

Goodbye, Don Glees!

A Film By Atsuko Ishizuka
Anime, 2022

Director Atsuko Ishizuka follows up her critically acclaimed series A Place Further Than the Universe with her first original feature film about a group of teen misfits Roma, Toto, and Drop call themselves the “Don Glees.” One day, when the trio gets blamed for a nearby forest fire, they set off into the woods to prove their innocence. As disaster strikes their expedition, tensions flare between the friends as they realize that growing up has taken them on wildly different paths in life

Woman in the Dunes

A Film By Hiroshi Teshigahara
Drama, 1964

This haunting, erotic, and unforgettable psychological drama is a strange take on the Sisyphus myth. When  an entomologist misses the last bus home from exploring a series of sand dunes, he is taken captive by the residents of a poor seaside village and suffers extreme torture alongside a young widow and forced dig the sand that they sell to nearby cities for construction.


A Film By Akira Kurosawa
Drama, 1950

This Kurosawa classic is brimming with action while incisively examining the nature of truth. Rashomon is perhaps the finest film ever to investigate the philosophy of justice. Through an ingenious use of camera and flashbacks, Kurosawa reveals the complexities of human nature as four people recount different versions of the story of a man’s murder and the rape of his wife.