KINEJAPAN digest 797

Chuck Stephens cougar71 at
Sun Jul 28 06:19:02 EDT 2002

Gosh, I had no idea this discussion forum was such hostile terrain. 
There I was, adding terms to a general discussion -- recent examples 
of the hysterical in Japanese film, evidence of factual omission in 
other contributory posts, the spelling of an actor's name when 
Professor Murphy requested it, etc -- when I'm attacked by someone 
previously uninvolved in the discussion who seems to have a rather 
rash urge to defend Professor Murphy. What gives?

>>Being put off by the name Laura Mulvey is like being annoyed at
someone dropping the words "polling" and "electorate" in a discussion of
politics. How anti-intellectual is anti-intellectual enough?<<

Uh...I didn't intend to appeal unevenly to either camp. Nothing about 
Laura Mulvey or her work puts me off. Indeed, I remember Mulvey's 
theoretical work as seeming rather relevant (to certain European and 
Hollywood, if no Japanese, films) back in the early 1980's, and Laura 
herself, during a teaching semester she spent at NYU in '87, as a 
perfectly charming person and an excellent instructor.

>>And why would
you be impressed if a Japanese film "already has an English title"? These
are made up by publicists and translators and typically approved by
directors who wouldn't know the difference.<<

Firstly, I'm sure Shinozaki would appreciate the benefit of the doubt 
you afford his intelligence. Secondly, once upon a time, you would 
have been right: English titles for some Japanese films were derived 
as after-thoughts, long after a director had finished his chores on a 
film. Today, however, with Japanese directors and producers planning 
-- nay, counting on -- the reception their films receive at 
international film festivals, some greater degree of care is given to 
the selection of English-language titles. It is my understanding, 
having been asked by the film's producers to contribute a minor essay 
to the brochure distributed in theaters in Japan during *Not 
Forgotten*'s release, that Shinozaki is quite comfortable with the 
title *Not Forgotten*. If you have other information, by all means 
bring it forward. I simply have a pet peeve against films which have 
a widely accepted English-language title being referred by some other 
title without reference to the title already in place -- no matter 
how clever or elaborative said other title's invention might be. It 
suggests a know-better-ism that smacks of arrogance.

>>Should we
make a rule not to use big words on the website during certain hours of the

Only if they bother you. By the way, do you keep current with 
Japanese cinema, or are you strictly a hall monitor here?

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