Okuribito wins

drainer at mpinet.net drainer at mpinet.net
Mon Feb 23 10:34:00 EST 2009

It looks like it was the year for 'foreign' film in any case, with Slumdog cleaning up the awards.

Interesting points you raise re: criticism and auteur status; I think the latter is a development you'd witness throughout the non-Hollywood awards circuit. One could posit that receiving the Oscar is not the climatic moment, but rather, auteur status is built up beforehand, thus giving credibility to the old arguments that auteurs are seldomly recognized by the governing bodies of the industry, Hollywood, et al. (The 'established' Japanese auteurs are evidence to that, it would be the case of a 'well-deserved' win as opposed to a win before reaching this status.) Unless they find a market for those chikan tapes...

I didn't have a chance to watch Okuribito last I was in Tokyo. I do remember it was picked worst by Eigei, but these flicks are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me.


-----Original Message-----
>From: Aaron Gerow <aaron.gerow at yale.edu>
>Sent: Feb 23, 2009 7:31 AM
>To: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
>Subject: Re: Okuribito wins
>It was nice to see two Japanese films win an Oscar (regardless of how  
>good they really might be; as some might recall, Departures was  
>picked as the worst film of 2008 by Eigei and not a few on the net  
>I've read have speculated that Waltz with Bashir, the pre-ceremony  
>favorite, lost because of its politics).
>But if I can say one thing: I hope that one day Japanese film people  
>will learn to speak better English. Takita and Kato were kind of cute  
>in their fumbling English, but they also just ended up performing the  
>stereotypes of a closed Japan which can't really communicate with the  
>world. It was kind of embarrassing. (Though Mokkun was actually  
>pretty good in post-award comments.)
>Of course, the Japanese newspapers declared that Takita was  
>"fluent" (ryucho) in his speech. No pressure to improve English there.
>The NHK news report (it was the top news story) was also kind of  
>embarrassing. The same old pattern: the gaze of the foreign Other is  
>finally upon us and they have recognized us! They even used the  
>Olympics pattern of showing the "jimoto" celebrate Takita's award.  
>The report also underlined the impending death of film criticism in  
>Japan: both of the experts they interviewed were mostly business  
>commentators. (NHK was also not quite right when it said Departures  
>was the first Japanese film to win the best foreign film Oscar: three  
>films won the Oscar when the category was a special award.)
>Given Mike's mail, one question we can ask is whether this award will  
>turn Takita into an "auteur" with all the accouterments: retro  
>screenings, DVD series, articles and books, etc. Given most of his  
>recent films, one might say no, but we shall see.
>Aaron Gerow
>KineJapan owner
>Assistant Professor
>Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
>Yale University
>For list commands, send "information kinejapan" to
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