Japanese Film Documentaries
Thu Nov 3 08:51:40 EST 2005
Actually, one of the first documentaries on Japanese film was a work
supervised by Gonda Yasunosuke titled Nihon eigashi (1941). The Film
Center has a copy of part 1.
Depending on your definition of documentary, the studios did
occasionally make "behind the scenes" shorts to show at the theaters.
Toei, when it released its first animated feature, Hakujaden, included
such scenes in the trailer for the film. You can find that on the DVD
for that film.
One of the more famous documentaries on filmmaking in Japan is Shindo
Kaneto's documentary on Mizoguchi Kenji: Aru eiga kantoku no shogai.
Chris Marker is one of the other directors who did a documentary on
Kurosawa Akira: A.K. Toho sells it as part of their Kurosawa box
In the last decade or two, many big films in Japan sponsor what's
called a "making" version--basically a document of the film's
production. Most are simply 20-30 fluff pieces that say little about
the film, but some directors have hired young promising directors to
make the making for their films. Itami had Suo Masayuki (Shall We
Dance) do the making for Taxing Woman, Kitano had Shinozaki Makoto
(Okaeri) do the making for Kikujiro, etc. Sometimes these get their own
Recently, there have been a number of films about film and filmmakers.
There was a documentary on Kurosawa Kiyoshi called Aimai na mirai,
Kurosawa Kiyoshi (on him filming bright future). Some foreign festivals
have shown Pink Ribbon, a documentary on pink cinema. And celebrate
Naruse's centennial, a film was made on that director entitled Naruse
Mikio: Kioku no genba.
Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
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