aaron.gerow at yale.edu
Mon Feb 23 07:31:50 EST 2009
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.
Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
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