Shiota Tokitoshi lecture in Munich - a third way
Mon Apr 29 16:05:24 EDT 2002
On Saturday, April 27, 2002, at 12:24 PM, Jasper Sharp wrote:
> I'm heartened by the fact that articles we have put up, such
> as the John Williams interview of the feature on Kurutta Ippeiji, are
> enduringly popular.
Yes, Midnight Eye is very refreshing for its catholic taste; I hope
everyone on KineJapan is a regular visitor!
> In any national cinema, the middle ground is still increasingly ignored.
I did make a distinction between, if you want to put it crudely, art and
cult film. However, I see this as mostly a temporal structure---the
difference between what used to "stand for" Japanese cinema in the past
vs. the last 5+ years or so.
I also don't see it as two ends of a spectrum, but simply as possible
emphases that are, ultimately, in a theoretical sense, unlimited. I
reject the idea of a middle ground; my own sense of "Japanese cinema" is
an interconnected complex of possibilities (genres, styles, modes of
production, media, etc. etc.).
> But this is happening because of decisions made at a far higher level
> either the cult or academic writers. The "gatekeepers" in distribution
> the film press seem to be totally out of touch with the general public.
They all work in concert to produce the _market_ gatekeepers cater to,
but the relationships between these coordinates and the people who
populate the system seem to have changed in the past decade, my basic
> Foreign cinema is no longer meant to entertain,
> portray or inform. It is meant to "shock", "provoke", "challenge" or to
> use of a hilarious quote by British Film Institute Programmer and Time
> reviewer, Geoff Andrews, to "reconfigure cinema in its own image". This
> not what most people go to the cinema for!
Interesting, as this suggests that the recent attention to good old/new
Japanese sex and violence is part of a larger phenomenon.
> certainly no less narcissistic
> than writers such as Desser who indulged in excessive descriptions of
> films' technical style and cultural relevatism over the content of the
> individual films themselves. ....[his] inpenetrable prose that these
> films elicited from lofty-minded academic
Actually, Desser is one of the most readable scholars of Japanese cinema
outside of Richie, and also, I might point out, one of the first to take
the pink film seriously (see Eros Plus Massacre, which was published in
> With this in mind, I'm wondering if any recent strain of Japanese
> cinema can be said to be representative of
> Japanese culture at present....There's a lot of rubbish being
> released in Japan at the moment, but at the same time, I still
> regularly see
> stuff that really bowls me over and that I want to write about.
I'm not interested in promoting representatives; I am interested in
watching and enjoying the widest variety of work (which puts us in
complete agreement). I would, however, point out that the combination of
"rubbish" and "jewels" is typical of every national context since the
first decade of cinema, including the "fabulous 50s" of Japanese cinema.
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