Japanese film workshop today

Naoki Yamamoto naokiya at gmail.com
Wed Mar 24 22:28:56 EDT 2010

Dear KineJapaners,

Please join us TODAY, from 7 to 9PM,  for the next meeting of the Japanese
Film Workshop, at Meiji Gakuin University, Shirokane Campus. PLEASE BE SURE
that the venue has changed to *room 7418* on the 4th floor of the Hepburn
hall (a tall building standing next to the main building). The Japanese Film
Workshop is open to all, and directions from stations and the campus map are
attached below as a PDF file.

An Impure Film: Chi to rei

Diane Wei Lewis
PhD Candidate, University of Chicago

My paper uses Mizoguchi Kenji’s lost Expressionist film Chi to rei
(Blood and Soul) as a departure point for discussing screen and
spatial aesthetics in early 1920s Japan.  Japanese reviews of German
Expressionist films often complained about their lack of cohesion.
The preexistence of Expressionist painting, literature, dance,
architecture, sculpture, and drama magnified the demand for a
specifically cinematic Expressionism that would be more than just the
amalgamation of foregoing strains.  Chi to rei was made at the height
of the interest in Expressionist films, only a few months before the
Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923.  The film concerns a Chinese jeweler
living in Nagasaki whose bizarre hereditary disease compels him to
steal and kill.  It too was panned as a poor study in Expressionist
techniques, cited as additional proof that a fully-integrated,
thoroughgoing Expressionist film style had yet to be found.  Yet,
surviving materials related to the film suggest that the filmmakers
intentionally embraced the heterogeneity critics denounced.  Read
against the grain, criticism of Chi to rei (and Expressionist films in
general) suggests various ways in which the prioritization of the
cinematic image (and even more specifically, the notion of cinema as a
screen-based medium) was defined in terms of exclusion.

For more information, please contact: naoki.yamamoto at yale.edu

Naoki Yamamoto (Coordinator)
PhD Candidate
East Asian Languages and Literatures/ Film Studies
Yale University
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