high volume 'bakuon' screenings

Bruce Baird baird at asianlan.umass.edu
Mon Feb 15 14:35:39 EST 2010

Dear Paul,

You probably already know this because of your background in butoh,  
but the butoh group Dairakudakan lead by Maro Akaji (who will be  
familiar to many on this list because of his extensive film acting  
career including a roles in Oshima, and Suzuki Seijun movies and more  
recently Kill Bill) used to offer ear plugs for sale before their  
butoh performances because they played the soundtrack so blisteringly  
loud.  I think Maro has always been particularly close to the world  
of cinema in his dances, but I don't know if he was drawing on some  
similar phenomenon from the cinematic world of the 70's or if he was  
drawing directly from punk (or just wanted to make a few more bucks  
off the sale of ear plugs).



On Feb 14, 2010, at 8:08 AM, Jasper Sharp wrote:

> This rather reminds me of a screening of a Philipino film I caught  
> at Thessaloniki Film Festival last year, The Muzzled Horse Of An  
> Engineer In Search Of Mechanical Saddles. The film was an hour long  
> video piece that had a live accompaniment from the director, Khavn  
> de la Cruz and his  various associates. It was quite a gruelling  
> experience, way too loud for my poor head on a monday evening.
> There's more details here, for those interested in comparisons with  
> new punk filmmaking/exhibition practices in other parts of the world:
> http://kulastalon.multiply.com/video/item/21
> best
> Jasper
> Midnight Eye: The Latest and Best in Japanese Cinema
> www.midnighteye.com
> More details about me on http://jaspersharp.com/
> > Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2010 17:18:50 +0900
> > From: proquet at berkeley.edu
> > To: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
> > Subject: high volume 'bakuon' screenings
> >
> > Film and rock music critic Higuchi Yasuhito has been putting on a  
> fairly active series of 'bakuon' (exploding sound) film events  
> since 2006. The first few were one-off screenings paired with live  
> music, but in the past couple years it has expanded into an ongoing  
> series, where individuals can make requests for films they would  
> like to see at high-volume. Most of the shows have been at Baus  
> theater in Kichijoji (where the main theater has big arena-rock  
> style speaker stacks on both sides of the screen), but it seems to  
> be spreading to other theaters in western Tokyo as well.
> >
> > In the few bakuon screenings I have (accidentally!) attended, the  
> excess volume did give the live music scenes a visceral realism -  
> for example, the punk shows in Go Shibata's "Osoi hito" felt just  
> right. Pummeling the audience with painfully-loud sound the entire  
> time, however, destroyed whatever loud/soft dynamic the film  
> originally had, and made me wince everytime someone onscreen closed  
> a door or stirred their coffee.
> >
> > In part this seems to be one more attempt to get people back into  
> the theater (by giving them something they can't get at home), but  
> it also seems driven by the rise in concert videos and music  
> documentaries the past few years. The bakuon website (www.bakuon- 
> bb.net) claims the festival is unique in the world, but I'm curious  
> what the precedent for this is. Does anyone know of similar  
> screenings elsewhere, or even films mixed to be screened at the  
> kind of volumes that make you wish you had brought earplugs?
> >
> > Paul Roquet
> Got a cool Hotmail story? Tell us now

Bruce Baird
Assistant Professor
Asian Languages and Literatures
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Butô, Japanese Theater, Intellectual History

717 Herter Hall
161 Presidents Drive
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9312
Phone: 413-577-4992
Fax: 413-545-4975
baird at asianlan.umass.edu

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