tribute to Keiko

Linda Ehrlich linda.ehrlich
Sat Sep 20 11:08:19 EDT 2008

When I heard the sad news of Keiko's passing, I sent a brief tribute to the
KineJapan list, but it wasn't received because of my new email address. Now
that this small problem is corrected (thanks Aaron!), I'd like to attach
part of a letter of reference I had written for Keiko a few months ago. I
also had the pleasure of speaking to her in Pittsburgh (but, alas, only by
phone) about 3 weeks ago when I was there for a social function. It's still
hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that she's no longer with us,
but the eloquent tributes by others through KineJapan have helped a lot.
  Well, here's part of the letter. Linda Ehrlich

....for her project "Woman Behind the Camera: Japanese Female Directors."

I have known Keiko McDonald for many years and have given a guest lecture at
her university. In addition, the University of Hawaii Press asked me to
serve as one of the readers for her excellent book *Reading a Japanese Film
*(2006). Unfortunately, only one chapter of that book is devoted to the work
of a female director (Kawase Naomi).

McDonald is a major figure in the study of Japanese cinema. As a truly
bilingual and bicultural scholar, she serves as a crucial bridge between the
worlds of Japanese film history and the academy. She is a veteran researcher
and thus will be able to maneuver around various film archives and screening
venues efficiently.

Through no fault of the author, many of the Japanese films Keiko McDonald
writes about are not accessible in the U.S. We can take her eloquent prose
and offer it to our classes but we have little access, from this shore, to
some of the Japanese films she analyzes. I hope that one day a publisher
will have the foresight to produce one of her books with an accompanying
DVD. A good place to start would be with her current research on Japanese
women film directors.
Even if we cannot view all of the films McDonald discusses in her new book,
the implications of her research will be far-reaching. She sheds a light on
a forgotten?or even unknown?aspect of the Japanese cinema. One could even
say that her research will offer a rewriting of Japanese cinema from the
perspective of the women who helped shape it...

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