inq: What's a Zen movie?

David Desser d-desser
Sat Nov 15 12:40:55 EST 1997

At 11:55 PM 11/15/97, Abe-Nornes wrote:
>David, I seem to remember that an early version of your Eros+Massacre
>chapter on Ogawa and Tsuchimoto makes connections to Zen, but this gets
>dropped in the book version. What happened between these two publications?
>Title : Zen and the Art of Documentary
>       Author : Desser, David
>       Journal : East-WestJournal
>       Imprint : 1.2 (1987): 45-59

The above-named essay was not at all intended to be an examination of Zen
or Zen aesthetics in the production of Ogawa's documentaries.  It was, in
fact, an attempt at a "catchy" title a la "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle
Maintenance."  If I had any real notions of linking Ogawa's practice to Zen
(and I didn't really) it was along the lines of "the Zen of everyday life"
wherein one lives fully, in the moment, totally dedicated to whatever it is
one is doing. If one knows Ogawa's documentary practice, one sees a
dedication to his subject matter unique in world cinema.  While I will
stand by this latter notion of Zen, it's not crucial to the article. A
reading of the article shows that I make no great efforts to define Zen or
link Ogawa's important and challenging films to any sort of "Zen"
influences.  Just a  catchy title more than anything else.


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