censorship cont....

stephen sarrazin stephens
Fri Dec 18 05:53:54 EST 1998

Some comments on this censorship issue. I'd like to add my support to
Shelly's position, and how the absence of a Japanese perspective does
contribute to make it somewhat academic. Ms.Suzuki's reactions were
clear and to the point. I recently took part in a debate on the films of
Tatsumi Kumashiro, at La maison de la Culture du Japon a Paris/Japan
Foundation building. The retrospective was a big success, just about
full for every screening. And during the question period of the debate,
audience members did much of what is going on here, on the list, namely
trying to identify differences, or rather, confirm 'accepted'
differences, which are often, though not always, those represented in
film & media. after the success of the retrospective, I was asked to do
a text on  examining pink and roman porno from a contemporary
perspective (it's an amazing body of work, and as many members already
know, one which has seen a wide variety of directors working in the
genre); concerning this 'healthier & guilt free" issue, certainly, in
terms of representation, many of these films  reveal a level of artistry
and imagination unparalleled in west(in sheer numbers). However, when it
comes to content, guilt-free and healthy are not terms I would use here;
arousing, challenging, disturbing, provocative, stimulating, upsetting,
distasteful, revolting...
As for the daily, social differences one encounters in a real &
culturally specific community, one  welcomes or at least acknowledges
those differences, but is this what this list is about? Just asking.

Would also like to respond to some remarks on the use of voice over in
dramas. I did say that it was often motivated by economic reasons;
dramas have to do with acceleration, making the story move along, and
sometimes there are too many subplots that can't be tied together and
the LAST or FINAL whatever is often dispappointing.
As for the debate over the artistic and creative value of such a
narrative device...I'm not very comfortable to talk about dramas in
those terms. I find they have a major cultural significance, but
overall, one out of two is poorly written, characters are essentially
'functions' that make the story go forward, we usually stay at the
surface of them, and in some instances, voice over does try to provide a
little depth, whether it's relying on the diary form, the letter form,
'or getting insde the character's mind', which can be a desolate place.
American sitcoms these last few years introduced a visualisation of what
was going on in the central character's mind (Dream On, Ally
McBeal,etc.). A drama, adapted from a manga, Happy Mania, from last
summer, tried to do someting along those lines.
Clearly, in some of the better dramas, the influence of literary
techniques contributes to this use of multiple narrators. But those are
few and far between.
My initial remarks had to do, as I said, with looking at shooting
scripts, schedules and productions notes.

Stephen Sarrazin

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