[KineJapan] 10 Years Japan

Japanese Cinema Discussion Forum via KineJapan kinejapan at lists.osu.edu
Sat Dec 30 00:02:40 EST 2017

Last night was the bonenkai for Dokuritsu Eiga Nabe, a kind of guild for
independent filmmakers and collaborators (producers, writers, PR people,
subtitles, programmers, etc.) that has been very active over the past
years. I had an interesting conversation with one young director. He is one
of 5 directors participating in the Japanese version of 10 Years currently
being produced by Jason Gray and executive produced by Kore-eda (I heard he
was quite involved, so it’s not a in name only credit). There are parallel
projects in Taiwan and Thailand.

This a multinational project borrowing the format set by 10 Years, the Hong
Kong indie film from 2015. This was an omnibus film by five young directors
who are committed to Hong Kong identity, politics, and film culture. The
film imagined what Hong Kong will be like 10 years down the road.
Resolutely anti-PRC, the film has the badge of honor of shutting down the
mainland broadcast of the Hong Kong Film Awards, since it was nominated
(and won) Best Film. I think it’s hard to say it was the best film made
that year, so this is a good indication of the film’s
in-the-face-of-the-PRC politics. Although being cut out of distribution
through the major chains after a big opening, it then packed cultural halls
and university screenings. Last time I was in Hong Kong, it came up in
nearly every conversation. No one seemed to like it, but everyone was happy
and impressed that it was produced and found an audience.

At any rate, I thought making versions of the film in other countries was
very interesting idea. But it never occurred to me until last night’s
conversation that it will be fascinating to see how the young Japanese
directors situate themselves in relation to contemporary politics and
social issues. This director is imagining what AI will be like in a decade,
but he also never really thought of his story as overtly political. But
“overt politics” is the essence of the format they are borrowing from Hong
Kong. In a country where so many people are pointing to Abe’s politics as
protofascist, the format would seem to invite a film that imagines a
full-blown fascism; indeed, the Hong Kong film imagined a Hong Kong overrun
by mainland bigots, language police, and Cultural Revolution-like gangs of
kids. The Hong Kong filmmakers were making and showing their film in the
context of the umbrella revolution; I continue to find young Japanese
filmmakers identifying politics with Zenkyoto, effectively handicapping
them as artists. I look forward to seeing how these filmmakers envision
their country’s future.


*Markus Nornes*
*Professor of Asian Cinema*
Department of Screen Arts and Cultures, Department of Asian Languages and
Cultures, Penny Stamps School of Art & Design

*Department of Screen Arts and Cultures*
*6348 North Quad*
*105 S. State Street*
*Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285*
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