This article examines how the filmmakers of Geijutsu-Eiga-sha (GES), a midlevel Bunka-Eiga (culture film) production company utilized Paul Rotha’s theory of the “documentary” in their method of production. This impact can be assessed in two GES films: Snow Country (1939) and Record of a Nursery (1942). The work of Rotha, the author of the seminal book Documentary Film (1935), directly inspired the GES filmmakers to transform their production site, which thereby established a new visual expression style for Bunka-Eiga. Importantly, this new production method and style functioned as a way to cope with increasing war demands.
Scholars of Japanese documentary studies traditionally used the lens of “war responsibility theory” in their analysis, which thereby elevated the significance of postwar documentary filmmakers. The praxis of the pre-war filmmakers of Bunka-Eiga has therefore been largely overlooked; this article serves as a corrective, as evidenced in the latter’s conscious adoption of Rotha’s theories during the late 1930s through the early 1940s. Drawing upon cultural studies, this article investigates the relationship between social conditions and production activities during wartime Japan. While the aforementioned films embraced Rotha in a different manner, each built a new Bunka-Eiga style together.
Scholars of the Japanese royal family and journalism have traditionally cited the year 1921, when Emperor Showa [then Crown Prince Hirohito] visited Europe, as the ground-breaking moment when external viewers were first able to gain insight into the Japanese imperial household. This also marked the emergence of the “Imperial Movies” featuring the Japanese Imperial family. At that time, film companies and newspaper agencies produced numerous “Movies of the Crown Prince’s Visit to Europe” both within and outside of Japan. This author has analyzed this body of work from the perspective of film history and studies in her article, “Film and the Imperial Household in the 1920s Japan: Analyzing Footage of Crown Prince Hirohito Visiting Europe and Onoe Matsunosuke Films in the NFC Collection as Publicity”(National Film Center Annual Bulletin, 2016, 35-53). New research, however, has uncovered multiple versions of films of the Prince Arisugawa’s visit to Europe in 1905, which were made by overseas producers, one of which has been preserved in a British archive. This article details the background of the 1905 films and their historical significance in terms of shifting images of the imperial household; similarly, the article analyzes the impact of these films on those produced later in 1920. In conclusion, the “Prince Arisugawa” films are integral in assessing the founding of the Japanese history of “open” images of the imperial household during the pre-World War II era.
In 1917, the London-based National Council of Public Morals created the Cinema Commission of Inquiry to conduct an investigation about the impact of cinema houses and films. As part of its mission, the National Council was dedicated to the promotion of “social purity.” The word “social” was widely known at the time as a euphemism for “sexual.” The National Commission dedicated particular attention to the spread of prostitution during the First World War.
The purpose of the article is to describe and examine how the Commission’s report shook the censorship principles of the British Board Film Censors (BBFC) by comparing the years before and after 1917 with special attention given to matters of sexuality. This article details popular opinion about cinema houses and films, and also reveals how the organization, film industry, and official administrative bodies were involved in dealing with the ”evil elements” that were linked to negatively affecting young people physically, socially, and morally. The BBFC’s “Grounds for Deletion” changed over the years and analysis has revealed that their inquiry strengthened censorship principles and consolidated trust, although the results did not always conform to prior expectation.
This article focuses on the affections and modifications of cinematic bodies, vis-a-vis the theory of shock experience. Gilles Deleuze’s work touches on these issues. His book Cinema deals with his theories about shock experience in cinema; on the other hand, a different cinematic body emerges in his essay “Cinema of the Body.” Neither clearly explains, however, the affection and modification of bodies as cinematic experience. After reviewing the Spinozian fluctuation of affection in Deleuze’s argument, this article analyzes the bodies in the films of John Cassavetes. Through this analysis, the tiring bodies in his films demonstrate the plural affection of fluctuating affect. Furthermore, Cassavetes’ bodies highlight how plural affection causes changes, namely radical transformations in our body composition, all of which brings new kinds of affect and worlds to bodies. This article concludes that such radical changes in bodies support arguments for the existence of new kinds of affect and transformation in cinematic experience.
The Japanese Nikkatsu film studio produced signature action films during the 1960s, which critics later termed New Action. The new decade, though, brought a watershed moment in 1971: Nikkatsu initiated the creation of soft-core pornographic films called Roman-Porno. While this new cinematic vehicle marked a transition in content, there was a sense of continuity between Nikkatsu New Action and Roman- Porno. This article focuses on the films of Hasebe Yasuharu, one of the defining New Action directors, who continued working at Nikkatsu to make Roman-Porno films. Regardless of narrative differences, Hasebe was able to incorporate New Action features in his films while the studio employed their previous tradition of production and distribution to produce hit films. The result of this business and creative model was successful to a degree and served to prolong the Japanese studio system, however, this strategy had limitations.