Since the 1990s, a lot of women filmmakers have started to become involved in making self-documentary (or serufu-dokyumentari). Here, filmmakers feature themselves, their families and their communities in their films. This phenomenon has brought about great changes in the movie world, where it used to be common for men to take on major roles such as producing or directing. This essay examines the documentary films of Naomi Kawase (born 1969) as an example of women’s selfdocumentary. In doing so, I will clarify both the characteristics and the social significance of women’s documentary. Firstly, this essay argues that a consistent characteristic of this oeuvre is performative self-representation that focuses on the filmmaker’s own private life and blurs the boundary between fiction and documentary.Secondly, I argue that, by connecting such self-representation to material corporeality, Kawase demonstrates the process whereby people try to construct intimate relationships that go beyond conventional family relations. Through close analysis of two documentary films thematising childbirth, Tarachime (2006) and Genpin (2010), I argue that Kawase’s work emphasizes the importance of creating relationships with concrete and individual others rather than with an abstract society. Kawase does this by depicting various acts conventionally associated with women as performances. Thus, her works show communal alternatives based on self-determination in terms of illustrating the connection between the public sphere and an alternative intimate sphere where material corporeality exists as the most concrete form of self.
Discussions of what caused the audiences of Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960) to scream so loudly when they witnessed the murder of Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) have already been analyzed from various perspectives, such as visual representation and narrative construction. Linda Williams’ groundbreaking essay “Discipline and Fun: Psycho and Postmodern Cinema” regarded this film as the new “cinema of attractions” and investigated the bodily reaction of the audiences in terms of a discipline that created “docile bodies” for enjoying the fear of the shower scene. According to Williams, the fun of Psycho is dependent upon the ability of these bodies to wait patiently in line in order to catch the thrills. Given the vast magnitude of the screaming effect, however, we need to consider the multilayered factors that caused this phenomenon. Above all, Hitchcock’s noteworthy television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-62) played an important role for enhancing the effect of the shower scene yet the series has received little attention. To reconsider the meaning of the shower scene in Psycho for contemporary audiences, this paper attempts to elucidate how the usual narrative structure of the television program, namely twist endings, disciplined the audiences and constructed their docile bodies spontaneously for the upcoming film.
This paper focuses on the narrative function of the asynchronous voice of the female teacher and the silence of the leukemic girl in Children of Hiroshima (1952) and Hiroshima (1953). In Children, a female teacher’s singing voice reminds a leukemic girl of her peaceful childhood and provides the continuity to bridge gaps of diegetic time in a flashback scene. Though Hiroshima uses the same characters, nostalgia is negated by replacing the nursery song with Kimigayo or Warship March. Through close analysis of film texts, I investigate two different ways in which both films construct the image of the innocent victims and the ideal postwar nationality.
Regional film festivals, such as Hakodate Illumination, Akita-Jumonji, Aomori, Kansai Queer, and Yufuin, have been held all over Japan and their number was reported to exceed one hundred in 2007. Unlike well-known international film festivals, they tend to screen existing commercial films relinguishing premiere status and do not try to discover or promote new film talents. Their unique feature lies in the fact that local film fans carry out all the planning and management, offering new places for cinema’s reception other than movie theaters. In the film festivals, whether they are regional or international, question-answer sessions and symposium are often conducted after the screenings under the bright light and they add a sense of publicness, depriving the audience of the anonymity of a movie theater. This paper explores the historical roots of Yufuin Film Festival, the oldest film festival in Japan that has served as a model for other film festivals, and analyzes the characteristics of the space of the regional film festival in light of the concept of publicness by drawing on Jürgen Habermas and Hannah Arendt.
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