[KineJapan] Kawase to direct Olympics doc

Gerow Aaron aaron.gerow at yale.edu
Sat Oct 27 22:25:44 EDT 2018


First and foremost is that many of the people I am connected to are against the Olympics itself. Kawase, to them, should be filming the neglected people of Fukushima, Okinawa, or Kumamoto and not latch onto the officialdom who is neglecting those people. (In some ways, this reminds me of the furor over Expo 70, when some filmmakers objected to Matsumoto Toshio and others deciding to collaborate with the Expo.) One friend on FB said it would be great if Kawase slyly put in messages about how the Olympics are actually hurting the people of Fukushima in her documentary, but that friend very much doubts that will happen: Kawase has been largely a-political in her filmmaking and has often been willing to serve on government committees.

Some colleagues suggested the comparison between Kawase and Leni Riefenstahl, perhaps implying that this is a woman filmmaker interested in art who doesn’t have a problem working for a regime with fascist tendencies if it can allow her to make films.

Also, some have speculated about why Kawase got the nod. One rumor that was reported—and all I can say is that it is a rumor—is that Abe Akie, the wife of the prime minister, is a big fan of Sweet Bean, and has often cited it in speeches. 

And frankly, there are a lot of people out there who don’t like Kawase personally. Earl has just mentioned one of many incidents news of which has spread through the grapevine. 

I should stress that I am here just reporting some of what I have read. I don’t attest to the veracity of all of it, or agree with all of it. But I do think the first one is a major issue: collaborating with a godawful boondoggle that is literally hurting people is problem. If she could turn that around and criticize the Olympics in her own documentary, that would be wonderful. But I very much doubt that will happen.


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