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Archive: Fall 2007

The Interaction between Artistic and Social Praxis in Japanese Filmmaking

Thursday & Friday, Nvember 29 - 30
7pm Screenings Both Days

Dr. Rika Hiro, Research Assistant at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, will introduce Inaba no shirousagi/ White Hare of Inaba
on Friday, November 30

 still from Oe Masanori's Great Society
still from Oe Masanori's Great Society

The FVC will host the West Coast screenings of “Cinema/Movement,” a program of Japanese underground cinema from the 1960s and 1970s that is touring North America this autumn. “Cinema/Movement” is a project that seeks to recover and redefine the relationship between artistic and social praxis in postwar Japanese film experiments of the 1960s and 1970s, and to examine the legacy and possibilities of this filmmaking practice for the present moment. These screenings seek to re-examine and re-establish the inseparable link between artistic experimentation and political movements in the postwar Japanese context and trace this connection to the present moment where progressive art and activism converge.

Thursday Program 1: Films by Oe Masanori

S No.1
1967, Japan • 5 minutes • 16mm

Head Games
1967, Japan • 10 minutes • 16mm

No Game
1967, Japan • 17 minutes • 16mm

Salome’s Children
1968, Japan • 7 minutes • 16mm

Between the Frame
1967, Japan • 10 minutes • 16mm

Great Society
1967, Japan • 17 minutes • Dual Proj./ 16mm/DVD

In the 1960s, Oe Masanori worked at the Third World film studio with Jonas Mekas, Stan Vanderbeek and others. At the same time, he was drawn to the possibilities of the psychedelic movement through figures such as Timothy Leary. For the psychedelically-inspired Salome’s Children, which utilized multiple exposures and extreme close-ups of a woman dancing to Indian music, Oe attached two strips of 8mm film to a single 16mm roll, projecting it onto two screens. The Great Society, made with Marvin Fishman, collaged newsreel footage of the Vietnam War, the psychedelic and civil rights movements, and other events to depict the America of the 1960s, projecting it in grand style on six different screens.

Total running time: 66 minutes.

Thursday Program 2: Crazy Love

Okabe Michio’s Crazy Love borrowed sounds from popular music and peopled his film 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.

Directed by Okabe Michio • 1968, Japan • 93 minutes
16mm (selected clips)

Friday Program 1: Films by Jonouchi Motoharu

Hi Red Center Shelter Plan
1964, Japan • 18minutes • 16mm

1964, Japan • 18minutes • 16mm

Gewaltpia Trailer
1969, Japan • 13minutes • 16mm

Shinjuku Station
1974, Japan • 14minutes • 16mm

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. In their meticulous assemblage of individual shots of different spaces imbued with the symbolic significance of political confrontation, these artists rejected the theatrics of spectacle, instead establishing a radical materialism of spaces in both structure and methodology.

Total running time: 63 minutes.

Friday Program 2: Inaba no shirousagi/White Hare of Inaba

Kato Yoshihiro’s The White Hare of Inaba is a document of the struggles of avant-garde performance group Zero Jigen, which persisted in one-time-ness of expression during the time of high economic growth when artistic expression came to be easily commodified and consumed.

Directed by Kato Yoshihiro. 1970, Japan • 132 minutes
16mm and DVD (selected clips)

Screenings organized by Sharon Hayashi, Dept. of Film, York University, Toronto, Canada. Curation and program notes by Hirasawa Go, Meiji Gakuin University. Translation of program notes by Phil Kaffen, New York University. The Irvine screenings have been organized by Jonathan M. Hall, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Film & Media Studies at UC Irvine.



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