Abe-Nornes amnornes
Sun Aug 9 06:27:28 EDT 1998

Bethany, I was disappointed to hear that you are in Japan, since we are
usually at the same school! I enjoyed your article in the University of
Michigan's International Institute Journal, and look forward to what you
come up with on film. 

I have one contribution to make: The Ama of Wagu ("Wagu no ama," 1941).
This was a documentary made by Ueno Kozo. He worked at Geijutsu Eigasha
(GES), which was the most interesting place for documentary during the
early war years. GES was filled with former Prokino members and was
generally left leaning and theoretically inclined. Ueno, for example, was
well known for a debate he took up with Tosaka Jun on an epistemology of
cinema (eiga ninshikiron). His film is relatively short, and can be
considered one of the documentaries that doesn't precisely tow an
ideological line. For example, he points out the steep pay inequities in
comparison to men. GES filmmakers were also interested in the aesthetic
possibilities of nonfiction filmmaking, and the underwater sequences of
this film are actually quite beautiful.  

Getting a hold of it is another matter. The film was shown at the Yamagata
International Documentary Film Festival in an event curated by Yasui Yoshio
of the Planet Film Library. If you want to find the source, I suggest you
contact him in Osaka:  6-364-2165.


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