Mizoguchi and neo-realism

Mathieu Capel mathieucapel at gmail.com
Tue Jun 19 16:09:32 EDT 2007

Sorry for answering so late to everyone's contribution.

I wish I could read both Imamura Taihei and Iwasaki Akira's books
Markus Nornes and Naoki Yamamoto talked about : living now in France I
think it will be rather difficult to me, but I would like to point out
some other references, maybe as some kind of temporary conclusion to
this discussion :

- talking about Iwasaki, I do recommend another book he published two
years after Eiga no riron, in 1958, entitled Gendai Nihon no eiga -
sono shisô to fûzoku. Iwasaki here doesn't draw any aesthetical or
theoretical conclusion about italian realism and the "dokuritsu puro"
films, so maybe should I say the same as Markus Nornes about Imamura.
In fact his approach relies on the reception of japanese movies in
Europe. He quotes french critic Georges Sadoul 1953 paper "Existe-t-il
un néo-réalisme japonais" (Nihon neo-realizumu wa sonzai suru ka ?),
and other books edited in France at the time. Clearly the fact that
these critics use the word "neo-realism" to talk about japanese film
is to Iwasaki something like a proof...

- here and there, in Masumura's writings, especially in his Profilo
storico del cinema giapponese, we can find some path to a possible
answer : regarding to the political situation of postwar japan he says
that there was no way for Japan to give birth to anything similar to
italian neo-realism, but a few lines later he describes one Shimizu
Hiroshi's film as the proof that before Rossellini's and de Sica's
films were released in Japan, Japan already had his own neo-realism.
His approach of Mizoguchi realism, and the comparison he often does
with Rossellini or Visconti, may be helpful as well.

- then I would like to go back to the beginning of this discussion,
that is, to Jean Douchet : the paper I was talking in my first e-mail
may be one of the most stimulating attempt to link japanese films
(here, Naruse and especially Ukigumo) to Rossellini's films. Douchet's
insights does not rely on historical facts, and, as we did, may
sometimes need to be corrected, but are really interesting. "A propos
de Naruse" was published in 1993 in the french magazine "Trafic", n.
3, and was translated to Japanese two years, in Naruse Mikio no sekai
he, by Hasumi and Yamane.

- the last point I would like to talk about is in fact a question :
reading once more Hanada Kiyoteru, I got aware that his "Avangyarudo
geijutsu" may be very interesting as well. I was particularly
interested in "Kûkan ningen", where he compares a "kikiteki kûkan"
(critical space ? sorry for my english) to the concept of space
developed in De Sica's and Rosselini's films - in a way that anounces
Douchet's insight, even if the latter never had the chance to read
Hanada's articles. Anyway, my question may appear to you very naïve :
does someone knows the books Hanada refers to, Kikiteki kûkan, whose
author he always quotes as "Oe (?)" 大兄 ? I could not find any
reference to that book on the web. And regarding the form of the
article itself, I sometimes wonder if it's not Hanada's own fantasy...

Thanks for your answers.

Mathieu Capel

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