Music TV & Film

X Japan documentary opens in theaters in Austin

From the production team behind the Oscar-winning “Searching for Sugar Man” comes “We Are X,” a documentary about the rock-and-roll band, X Japan, the world’s biggest and most successful band you’ve never heard of…yet.

Yoshiki looks out over his drum kit during a rehearsal for X Japan’s Madison Square Garden concert in Drafthouse Fi lms’ We Are X. / Courtesy of Drafthouse Films
Yoshiki looks out over his drum kit during a rehearsal for X Japan’s Madison Square Garden concert in Drafthouse Films’ “We Are X.” / Courtesy of Drafthouse Films

“We Are X” chronicles the band’s exhilarating, tumultuous and unimaginable history over the past three decades–persevering through personal, physical and spiritual heartache. The film culminates with preparations for their breathtaking reunion concert at New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden.

Band leader and drummer Yoshiki and lead vocalist Toshi started the band back in 1982, originally as X. The band disbanded in 1997 but reunited in 2007. Original lead guitarist Hide and bassist Taiji Sawada passed away in 1998 and 2011, respectively. Although Hide and Taiji are deceased, the band still considers them members and introduces them at every concert. Current band members are Yoshiki, Toshi, Heath, Pata, and Sugizo.

Yoshiki strikes the iconic X Japan pose before performing in Drafthouse Films’ "We Are X." / Courtesy of Drafthouse Films
Yoshiki strikes the iconic X Japan pose before performing in Drafthouse Films’ “We Are X.” / Courtesy of Drafthouse Films

Directed by acclaimed documentarian Stephen Kijak, “We Are X” is an astonishingly intimate portrait of a deeply haunted-but truly unstoppable-virtuoso and the music that has enthralled legions of the world’s most devoted fans. John Battsek produced, and Mako Kamitsuna and John Maringouin edited.

“We Are X” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. The film won Sundance Film Festival Awards’ Special Jury Award for Best Editing. The film also screened at the SXSW 2016 back in March.

The current incarnation of X Japan in Drafthouse Films’ "We Are X." / Courtesy of Drafthouse Films
The current incarnation of X Japan in Drafthouse Films’ “We Are X.” / Courtesy of Drafthouse Films

X Japan has sold 30 million singles and albums combined, and filled the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome a record 18 times. Now the band’s popularity is spreading throughout the world, having recently completed a sold-out World Tour, performing in North America, Europe, Latin America, and South East Asia. According to Anime News Network, X Japan’s first album release in 20 years will drop in late 2016.

The documentary releases in theaters in Austin on Friday, Oct. 28.

Check out the trailer!

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