Cinema / Movement at Yale – The Interaction between Artistic and Social Praxis in Japanese Filmmaking

Cinema / Movement at Yale -- The Interaction between Artistic and Social Praxis in Japanese Filmmaking

Thursday, November 8, 2007 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Room 106, Department of Economics See map
212 York Street
New Haven, CT 6511

In cooperation with York University and Anthology Film Archives, the Council on East Asian Studies and the Film Studies Program will present a portion of the “Cinema/Movement” film series focusing on the vibrant and controversial interactions between political action and experimental filmmaking in the 1960s and 1970s in Japan. This series of rare films, many of which are hard to see in Japan, let alone North America, was organized by Sharon Hayashi at York University and curated by Hirasawa Go of Meiji Gakuin University. Hirasawa will be in attendance at the Yale screenings and discuss the films shown.

7:00 PM Program One
Hi Red Center Shelter Plan, 18min, 1964, 16mm
Wols,18min, 1964, 16mm
Gewaltpia Trailer, 13min, 1969, 16mm
Shinjuku Station, 14min, 1974, 16mm Total running time 63 minutes.

Jonouchi Motoharu was instrumental in the formation and gathering of multiple artistic and anti-art endeavors including the Nihon University Cinema Club, VAN film research center, and the Neo-Dadaists, often living and sharing work space with others to establish a space of creative exchange. Hi Red Center Shelter Plan documented the formation of the Hi Red Center by visual artists Akasegawa Genpei, Nakanishi Natsuyuki and Takamatsu Jiro as they produced an individual shelter for the fallout of nuclear war. Wols is composed of small fragments of shots by the Informel photographer and painter Wolfgang Otto Schulze (1913-1951), who called himself Wols. Gewaltopia Trailer and Shinjuku Station, part of the Gewaltopia (gewalt=violence+utopia) series, are both born from the anti-establishment struggles at Nihon University. In their meticulous assemblage of individual shots of different spaces imbued with the symbolic significance of political confrontation, they rejected the theatrics of spectacle, instead establishing a radical materialism of spaces in both structure and methodology.

8:05 PM Talk by HIRASAWA Go - Meiji Gakuin University

Hirasawa Go has written about and programmed many events centered on Japanese political cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. He is co-author of Eiga/kakumei (Film/Revolution) (Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 2003), a series of interviews with radical filmmaker Adachi Masao, and editor of Underground Film Archives (Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 2001) and Fassbinder (Gendai Shicho Shinsha, 2005). 8:35 PM Program Two OKABE MICHIO Crazy Love, 1968, 93min, 16mm Total running time 93 minutes. Okabe Michio began his career in the fine arts. Inspired by the works of Kenneth Anger and the American underground, he gravitated towards filmmaking. Crazy Love was his second work and the first feature length underground film in Japan. Eschewing narrative and meaning, Okabe instead layered the film with the music he liked from the Beatles and James Brown to Enka and Group Sounds and peopled it with friends and artists, inserting sequences of performances and happenings, making it a true document of the Shinjuku underground scene. Okabe himself appears recreating his favorite roles from Bonnie and Clyde to Spaghetti Westerns, as well as incorporating quotations by inserting stills of Godard, Kennedy’s assassination and the Vietnam War. Correlated with Susan Sontag’s theorization of kitsch as well as employing the queer lingo of “camp,” the film’s relentless equal opportunity pop-art montage shattered the foundations of conventional cinema, including the experiments of the early 60s, liberating infinite new possibilities.

Sponsored by the Council on East Asian Studies and the Film Studies Program, in cooperation with York University and Anthology Film Archives,