Re: the eerie silence on KineJapan is maddening!
frannyandzoey at infoseek.jp
frannyandzoey at infoseek.jp
Fri Mar 18 02:04:04 EDT 2011
I just wanted to say that things are really horrifying and devastating in the northern regions which are affected directly by the earthquake and tsunami, but in Tokyo things are basically fine and normal given the present impeding circumstances. Of course, one can make oneself panicked by fearing about a possible nuclear power plant disaster like Chernobyl, or another big earthquake but most Japanese are calmly watching the situation, praying for the people working hard in directly dealing with the situation, those who themselves or their families are affected by the earthquake. Many foreigners who live in Tokyo have fled from Tokyo to safer areas, which is totally understandable, but makes me feel a little distant.
I don't think the NFC and its archive have been damaged by the quake. I checked the website and they're going to be closed till the 18th due to electricity shortage, not the damage, I think. Their buildings are rather newly built after the big fire in the 1980s, so they are supposed to be well equipped and prepared to hold the tremor of Japanese scale 5, if not magnitude 9.0.
It took me a week to actually take a look at this mailing list. It's just the way it is when one is experiencing a disaster like this, and I am not even affected, unlike those who have to live in the shelters with shortage of food, heat in the snowy cold weather, fear of radiation disaster, on top of everything, let alone having instantly deprived of their homes and loved ones... All they have is nothing but debts or mortgage of a house or a tractor that no longer exists or whatever they lost. But still many of them appreciate concerns and thoughts from people all over the world.
Yes, we could definitely use a little compassion and generosity.
> $B:9=P?M(B: "ReelDrew at aol.com" <ReelDrew at aol.com>
> $B<u<h?M(B: "KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu" <KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
> $BF|IU(B: 11/03/18 12:26
> $B7oL>(B: the eerie silence on KineJapan is maddening!
> I have been a member of KineJapan for the last ten years. I joined
> originally out of a need to obtain translations of the intertitles of Japanese
> silents on VHS in my collection. I am very grateful to those members on
> KineJapan who aided me and made it possible for me to, among other things, write
> an article on Hiroshi Shimizu that is published on Midnight Eye.
> Since then, I have regularly received almost daily the messages that have
> been posted here. In all honesty, a large number--perhaps the majority, in
> fact--have been of limited interest to me inasmuch as they tend to deal with
> contemporary Japanese films. Consistent with my enthusiasm for films in other
> countries, including my own, produced in�earlier decades, it is my interest
> in the Japanese cinema of the past, especially the films of the 1920s and 1930s,
> that has been of consuming interest to me. Nevertheless, from time to time
> issues involving those golden years do come up here.
> However, whether or not the topic has been of particular interest to me, I
> have always valued the fact that KineJapan has always been there, an
> extremely�valuable resource to be consulted when needed. Never before since
> I've been here did this group shut down. Certainly, it was very active right
> through the events of 9/11 as were other film discussion groups in which I
> Since the tragic events that began a week ago, though, this place has
> suddenly turned into a ghost town. Aside from a very limited amount of posts
> specifically on the topic of the tsunami, there has been absolutely nothing
> here. No one has even bothered to post how things are going on in Tokyo, while
> all sorts of wild, apocalyptic rumors circulate unchecked in the US that Tokyo
> is about to become irradiated, that it�may be�doomed. I believe a few
> welcome posts here from knowledgeable people in the Japanese capital might help
> to clarify the situation and perhaps alleviate some of these fears.
> I have had a consuming obsession with early Japanese cinema for the last 36
> years. In trying to interest people in the West in this topic and to recognize
> the value of Japanese films from those years, I have long had to confront an
> enormous amount of indifference and insensitivity to these achievements by too
> many in America and elsewhere in the outside world. It has taken so long to
> bring attention to these films here. Indeed, it was only this January that the
> premier venue for classic cinema in the United States, Turner Classic Movies,
> after being on the air for 17 years, finally presented three Japanese
> silents--Ozu's famous masterpieces, "Tokyo Chorus," "I Was Born, But. . .," and
> "Passing Fancy." So it is only very recently that this neglected period of
> Japanese film is just starting to receive some recognition here.
> Given this obession of mine, I would very much like to know how the
> archives and other collections of Japanese cinema are coping with the current
> crisis in Tokyo. Are they able to function normally in their work of
> preservation considering the power blackouts etc.? If there really should be an
> evacuation of the capital, has there been discussion of removing films and other
> cultural treasures from Tokyo to Kyoto, a much safer city and which I personally
> feel should be restored to the position of Japan's capital?
> As to whether now is the proper time to discuss the preservation of culture
> in view of the terrible loss of life and the continuing threat, I believe that,
> far from being at odds or incompatible, the preservation of human life and
> humanity's cultural heritage are inseparable. The heroic people of Egypt have
> shown all of us the way recently in this area. During a time of turmoil in which
> a corrupt, discredited dictatorship was attempting to hang on to power by
> employing ruthless methods against the protestors, demonstrators courageously
> appeared to form human chains around the Library in Alexandria and the Egyptian
> Museum in Cairo to protect these treasures of our history. I would hope that,
> should it ever�become necessary, a similar sense of cultural responsibility
> will be demonstrated in other countries, including Japan. The heritage of Japan,
> including its film history, is the common property not just of one country but
> indeed, the legacy of all the people of the earth.
> In all those non-Western countries that the West chose to lump together as
> "Oriental," for much of the 20th century the four most significant in terms of
> creating outstanding cinemas in the first half of the last century were Japan,
> China, India, and Egypt. This preeminence in the new art of film was emblematic
> of these nations' continuing cultural leadership in the modern world. In terms
> of documenting and preserving the national film heritage, however, Egypt under
> the Mubarak regime was scandalous. The Egyptian film archive was by far the
> worst run in the entire world, mismanaged by members of Mubarak's family. So
> neglected was the state of the archive that it was a common sight to see rats
> crawling out of cans of film in the vaults. The situation with the Egyptian
> archive was thus symptomatic of the larger ills afflicting the society under the
> corrupt regime that ruled Egypt for thirty years. Needless to say, with the
> present rebirth of Egypt through revolution there is a far greater hope that the
> glories of Egyptian cinema from its bright beginnings in the silent era to
> the�achievements of later decades will be at last properly preserved.
> While the infrastructure of Japan including its archives can hardly compare
> to�its counterparts in Egypt in the Mubarak years, there has nevertheless
> been a steady decline in Japan in the two decades since the economic bubble
> burst in the early 1990s.�Egypt is now�trying to recover from a social
> disaster, Japan from a natural one exacerbated, it seems, by a variant of the
> same corruption and cronyism that�long afflicted Egypt. I think Japan, like
> Egypt, will need to transform itself anew, but as with Egypt, that
> transformation must be solidly based on the preservation and dissemination of
> past achievements including�a glorious legacy of early cinema.
> Consequently,�in addition to my general concern at the eerie silence that
> has suddenly taken over KineJapan, as though all its members have been struck
> dumb, I would in particular like to know how the film archives and other
> institutions consecrated to�cinema history in Japan are faring during the
> present crisis.
> William M. Drew�
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