Pacific Edges Screening Series


 



Pacific Edges

A Screening Series 

Curated by Earl
Jackson, Jr


jacksone@eastwestcenter.org

Free and Open to the Public 

Wednesday Evenings 6.30 PM 

Arts Auditorium***

University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus 

This Series Ended on March 12,
2003.



Shortest Explanation of  the Pacific Edges series

This series is a bifocal showcase of the work of Japanese filmmakers
generally ignored in the U.S.. One focus is on the cutting-edge filmmakers
of the present, and the other is on filmmakers of the recent past. 


Screening Schedule





























Feb 5 Manji

Masumura Yasuzo 1964


Masumura studied law at Tokyo University during WWII, and took a 2nd
degree in Literature in the early 1950s, before going to Rome to study
at the prestigious Cinematographica Sperimentale. 

Masumura directed 68 features, mostly for Daiei studios, and is considered
an important New Wave inspiration by Oshima Nagisa. Michelangelo Antonioni
also numbers Masumura among his personal favorite directors. None of Masumura’s
films ever made it to the U.S. during his lifetime. To leave him out of
the history of Japanese cinema, would be like leaving Martin Scorsese out
of the history of U.S. cinema. Nevertheless, we have done just that.
Manji 
is based on a Tanizaki Jin’ichiro novel about a lesbian relationship that
forms between a wealthy Osaka housewife and a fellow student in a painting
class at a local Art School. The relationships gain in intensity, paranoia
and obsession when the two men in the women’s lives enter the force field
that binds them to each other.Liliana
Cavani
also filmed a version of this story as Berlin Affair
(1990). Click HERE
for a review of Manji,
Giants
and Toys
, and Blind Beast.






February 12 Swallowtail Butterfly

Iwai
Shunji 
  1996 


Swallowtail Butterfly is one of the most compelling attempts
to see Japan differently. It excels in being both realistic and visionary.
The film is a fable of „Yen Town“ a fabulous alternative community outside
of  Tokyo comprised of immigres drawn to the mystique of Japan’s economic
miracle. In its contradictions and its eccentric forms of solidarity, Yen
Town both indicts Japanese cultural inertia and challenges Japan to meet
its greater potential as a complex socio-cultural participant in the larger
networks that traverse Japan and transcend its borders: Asia, the Pacific,
and the World. In Swallowtail, the Japanese nation becomes one among others,
that „one“ now  includes „others“ and otherness within its no-longer
homogeneous makeup. The „transworld kids“ of Yen Town trade in the traditional
sense of  Japanese „uniqueness“ for Japanese differences

One of the most beautiful, and important films to come out of the 1990s.
If you can attend only one film of the series, please make it this one. 


** February 19th 12noon.

Earl
Jackson, Jr.
„Catastrophe Formations: Difference and its Strategies
in Contemporary Japanese Cinema“ 

2121/2125 Burns Hall 

1601 East-West Road UHM campus. 

Sponsored by the International Cultural Studies Program 
This talk will focus on Swallowtail Butterfly,
while contextualizing it within Japanese cinema history. Clips will be
used to illustrate the argument. Free and Open to the Public and conversation
welcome.
Feb 19 Gate of  Flesh
Suzuki Seijun 1964


Suzuki
Seijun
was a prolific and wildly inventive
director at Nikkatsu Studio
s from the late 1950s until he was fired
in 1968 for what the studio considered „incomprehensible„
films. Suzuki
sued and won but was blacklisted
for many years. In the late 1980s
he began to make films again and now even Nikkatsu has joined the world
in re-viewing and reevaluating the treasure trove of films Suzuki has made.
Many are gangster films with a hallucinogenic logic and a visual self-intoxication.
But Suzuki also made at  least extremely
serious films
about World War II and its aftermath. Gate of Flesh 
is about its aftermath.
Set in immediate post-war Tokyo, the film depicts  the lives of
a group of prostitutes who have banded together under an oath that none
of them would have sex for free. Garish and bold, it is also a very serious
indictment of Japanese and U.S. militarist adventurism and the sexual politics
of everyday life.






March 5 Glowing, Growing

Horie Kei 2002 A stunning debut film. Literally stunning. Two young men, longtime
„nerds“ decide to bicycle to a beachside rendevous point for a mass-suicide
event. The questions the film raises are as valuable and as dangerous as
any answers they might solicit.



March 12 Jigoku [Hell
Nakagawa Nobuo 1960 


An acknowledged master of the period-piece Japanese horror film, Nakagawa’s
work deserves more than a second glance. Or even a first glance.
A macabre and despondent psychodrama in a warped
Tokyo moves out into the countryside in time for the entire cast to get
poisoned by tainted fish and literally go to hell. This one has to be seen
to be believed. It was remade in 2000 by  Ishii Teruo, this time featuring
the Aum Shinrikyo cult, but the remake doesn’t hold a candle to the original
(no pun intended).





Earl Jackson, Jr. ~ Self-Introduction

I am an associate professor of  Comparative Literature and Film
at the University of California, Santa Cruz. From December 2002-December
2003 I am a Visiting Research Fellow at the East-West Center, where I am
writing a book on Japanese Cinema from 1956 to the present. I have collected
a large number of films that have never been released in the U.S. which
are not only central to my research but compelling and often inspiring
works of art. Since 1999 I have curated two free film series every quarter
on UCSC campus open to the public. Each series had its own theme and its
own interactive Web sites. The sites are archived on my Web Domain, 

Another Scene http://www.anotherscene.com/


Slightly more detailed explanation of the rationale
behind Pacific Edges


[Feel free to skip 
up to  the Film Schedule
.]


    Even to the fairly sophisticated filmgoer in the
U.S., Japanese Cinema has long meant Kurosawa Akira’s soulful samurai,
Ozu Yasujiro’s aesthetically precious domestic still-lifes, and Mizoguchi
Kenji’s fog-enshrouded landscapes. To the kitsch- and camp-afficienados
Japanese Cinema is a longrunning shaggy dog story in rubber monster suits.
The fact that these two alternatives remain the dominant expectations of
Japanese cinema in the West suggest a vicious circle. Originally 
these impoverished conceptions of Japanese cinema were in large part determined
by the small number of Japanese films released in the U.S. and by the specific
types of films that gained public attention. Once these notions of Japanese
Cinema were in place, those very notions in turn determined what subsequent
films would get released in the U.S., what directors would come to represent
„Japanese film“ and which ones would be left out of U.S. movie theaters
and English-language histories and appreciations of Japanese cinema. The
process of exclusion can be seen in the holes in „our“ canon of Japanese
films from the „classical age“ of the 1950s and 1960s. The same tunnel
vision is operative today; the amazing new and on-going efflorescence in
Japanese film trickles into the U.S. as a vague glimmer. Of the rather
hefty numbers of  innovative directors emerging in the late 1980s
and the early 1990s, only Kitano
Takeshi
so far has found a sizable and consistent niche in the American
marketplace. Only the most intrepid film-festival goers and savvy owners
of all-region DVD players have an inkling of the work of Kurosawa Kiyoshi,
Iwai Shunji, Aoyama Shinji, Miike Takashi, Shiota Akihito, Ishii Sogo,
and Sabu, to name only a handful.

    Pacific Edges was designed as a small, local
gesture toward interrupting that vicious cycle of stereotyping and exclusion
by introducing a sampling of  films that have been left out of the
picture. The films were selected with a focus on both  historical
omissions and  contemporary neglect: the line-up alternates between
works of directors of the recent past and works of the cutting-edge filmmakers
of the present, a rhythm that is in turn complicated by directors who span
both periods such as Suzuki Seijun and the late
lamented Fukusaku Kinji.
An optional, informal discussion follows each
screening.

    For an even more detailed introduction, Click THIS. 


For Archived Screening Series Sites also curated by Earl
Jackson, Jr.
See the Home Page of


Another Scene

http://www.anotherscene.com/

Or:

http://www.anotherscene.com/asias/

http://www.anotherscene.com/memories.html


From Earl Jackson, Jr.:

I am an associate professor of  Comparative Literature and Film
at the University of California, Santa Cruz. From December 2002-December
2003 I am a Visiting Research Fellow at the East-West Center, where I am
writing a book on Japanese Cinema from 1956 to the present. I have collected
a large number of films that have never been released in the U.S. which
are not only central to my research but compelling and often inspiring
works of art. Since 1999 I have curated two free film series every quarter
on UCSC campus open to the public. Each series had its own theme and its
own interactive Web sites. The sites are archived on my Web Domain, 
Another Scene http://www.anotherscene.com/