Self-Introduction and Request

Aaron Gerow onogerow at
Mon Nov 17 20:08:21 EST 2003


Image Forum is the place to definitely go first--although it is in 
Tokyo. Not only do they have many works on film and video you can view 
with their cooperation, but they have published many books and 
magazines (the magazine _Image Forum_ being the main one) that are an 
absolute must-read.

What you will find out, however, talking to many in the experimental 
film community in Japan is that there is "the history according to 
Image Forum" and "the history outside Image Forum." The former is of 
course very important, but due to certain politics within the 
experimental film community, there are filmmakers that Image Forum has 
consciously or unconsciously not shown or introduced (Image Forum, to 
put it plainly, is the main canon-maker for experimental film in Japan, 
and we all know the problems of canon formation). I don't mean to 
attack Image Forum--all the people there are great and you will find 
them very cooperative--but this is just the fact when it comes to 
institutions writing histories.

So do make a point of trying to talk to people who are not that close 
to Image Forum. One person you have to talk to is Nada Hisashi who 
teaches at Waseda and has written many articles on the history of 
Japanese experimental film. Another is Mizuyoshi Akira, who edited the 
experimental film journal _Fs_. I'd also talk to Sueoka Ichiro and 
Nishimura Tomohiro at Kino Balazs, a long-running experimental film 
study group I once belonged to.

And if you are in Kansai, make sure to go to the Planet Bibliotheque du 
Cinema in Osaka, where Yasui Yoshio will be a well of information. He 
deals with all kinds of films, but Yasui-san, with his mysterious fount 
of knowledge, has to know things about older Kansai experimental 
filmmakers that no other human being knows. Also make sure to go to 
Kyoto Zokei to talk to Ito Takashi and some of the other filmmakers. 
Ito, of course, is one of the great experimental filmmakers in Japan.

Aaron Gerow
Film Studies and East Asian Languages and Literatures
Yale University

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