Countercultural new wave cinema from the 60s and 70s comes face-to-face with new experimental films in this investigation of youth and protest in Japan.
This edition of JAEFF, in partnership with The Japan Foundation, riffs off the Oxford Dictionaries word of 2017: ‘Youthquake’ – defined as ‘a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.’
Taking place at Kings College, Close-up and the Barbican, London, we are presenting classic avant-garde films from the 1960s and 1970s that examine youth counterculture, the student movements, and general currents of dissatisfaction and rebellion. From ‘sun tribe’ delinquents in “Bad Boys”, psychedelic drag queens in “Funeral Parade of Roses”, and heat-of-the-battle political documentary “Forest of Oppression”, to surreal theatre troupes in “Diary of a Shinjuku Thief”.
Showing alongside these films are short experimental works from contemporary filmmakers and video artists that engage with life in present-day Japan.
Friday 21 September 2018
King’s College, Lucas Lecture Theatre, Strand Campus
6:45pm – Opening Night Gala.
Your Voice Came Out Through My Throat
Japan, 2009. Dir Yamashiro Chikako, 7min, Digital presentation.
Yamashiro performs the results of audio interviews she conducted with those who lived through the traumatic Battle of Okinawa from WWII. She explains that “rather than objectively listening to the pain they felt, I endeavored to imagine the stories they were telling me as if they had actually occurred to me, while also trying to feel their pain as if it were my own…. In telling or listening to the stories of the war, the war witness and the listener should surmount that dual relationship. That is, when a story about the war is being told, both the teller and the listener should share the pain, as the former is recovering his/her memories and the latter is envisioning the story.”
+ Crazed Fruit 12*
Japan, 1956. Dir Kō Nakahira, 86min, Digital presentation
Based on the controversial novel by Shintarô Ishihara, Crazed Fruit caused scandal upon release for its frank depiction of the postwar sexual revolution among privileged youths in Japan. The film acts as a manifesto for the sun tribe (taiyozoku) subculture, as well as subsequent youth countercultures (an alternate title for the film is Juvenile Jungle): “Look what the older generation tried to sell us”; “Let’s find our own way by wasting time”; “we live in boring times”; “we’ll make boredom our credo”. And so they do: chasing girls, messing around in boats, endless poker and drinking sessions, and occasional fights to release “pent-up energy”. All soundtracked by regular Kurosawa collaborator Masaru Sato, and avant-garde mainstay Tōru Takemitsu’s hip score that blends jazz with slack key guitar.
The scorned and outdated traditions of the gang’s parents are likened to silent cinema. With Crazed Fruit, Nakahira shows what the “new” cinema will resemble, encapsulated by the striking opening shot of the dead-eyed stare of Haruji (Tsugawa), out for revenge in a motorboat. Postwar youth and masculinity is shown here to be beautiful, virile, and thoroughly nihilistic.The screening will be introduced by Japanese cinema lecturer Marcos Centeno.
Saturday 22 September 2018
Forest of Oppression with extended intro + video clips 15*
Japan, 1967. Dir Ogawa Shinsuke, Documentary, 105min. Digital presentation
Ogawa’s astonishing documentary takes the audience behind the barricades and into the heat of running battles with riot police in this chronicle of the student occupation movement in 1967 Japan at the Takasaki City University of Economics.
Forest of Oppression will be introduced by Ricardo Matos Cabo, an independent film programmer and researcher, who will give a short illustrated presentation about the first collective films made by Shinsuke Ogawa and talk about the student movement in Japan in the 1960s.
Courtesy of Athénée Français Cultural Center
Japan 2014 Dir. Ummmi. 9 min Digital presentation
Ummmi’s film which attempts to go beyond borders through mixing up personal areas of the Internet by bringing out online and analogue records, personal spaces lived in by the actor, old blogs and e-mail log in screens, and mixed video footages of various qualities.
Ummmi will give a short introduction of her work prior to the screening.
+ Diary of a Shinjuku Thief 15*
Japan 1968 Dir. Nagisa Oshima 96 min 35mm presentation
Heavily influenced by the post-Shingeki theatre movement, whose main practitioners were Juro Kara and Shūji Terayama. Rejecting the long modern trajectory toward “realist” theatre, these playwrights turned toward premodern theatrical forms, including Noh, Kabuki, and Bunraku. Much like Masahiro Shinoda’s Double Suicide, this film questions the relationship between reality and art, sending the protagonists into plays-within-a-film and featuring actual people as themselves in ad-libbed scenes. Shinjuku was a major center for the art-theatre scene in the late 1960s, and several settings remain largely unchanged today, including Kinokuniya and the plaza outside the east exit of the station.
Isolde Standish will introduce this screening.
In partnership with Japan Foundation
Sunday 23 September 2018
Barbican, Cinema 3
Panel Discussion – The Tremors of the Japanese New Wave
A special discussion event in support of the Japanese Avant-garde and Experimental Film Festival’s programme of youth orientated films from the new wave period of the 1960s and 70s.
This free admission panel event will bring together world renowned experts in Japanese cinema including film historians, academics, and curators. Following the festival themes of youth and protest, they will address questions surrounding of the legacy of the cultural and social upheaval in Japan in the 1960s and the thematic and stylistic influences from the Japanese avant-garde.
Given the current cinematic climate, the question of gender representation in cinema is more prescient than ever. The panel will elucidate on the male dominated Japanese New Wave and discuss how filmmaking in Japan might, or might not, be diversifying. A factor that is reflected in this year’s JAEFF line-up.
Panelists include: Isolde Standish, Jelena Stojkovic, Jennifer Coates and Julian Ross.
Japan 2017 Dir Kioto Aoki 3 min Digital presentation
Kioto Aoki is a conceptual photographer and experimental filmmaker who also makes books and installations engaging the material specificity of the analogue image and image-making process. Her work explores modes of perception via nuances of the mundane, with recent investigations focusing on perceptions of movement between the still and the moving image. She is also working on a series of dance-movement films. Studio sunrise is a reflected self-portrait imitating movements of the sun.
+ Bad Boys 12A*
Japan 1961 Dir Susumu Hani 89 min 35mm presentation
Susumu Hani blurs the line between fiction and documentary in his feature film debut. Bad Boys depicts the disaffected lives of “sun tribe” delinquents (similar to US “greasers”). Filmed in a dispassionate cinema-vérité style, Bad Boys chronicles the militaristic daily routines of reform school life with little sense of release or salvation (both for inmates and audience). Relief from the grind is found through occasional triumphs of collective action, which point to Hani’s Marxist credentials, and in avant-garde musical pioneer Tōru Takemitsu’s aching score.
Bad Boys’ screening will be introduced by Susumu Hani’s specialist Marcos Centeno.
Special thanks to Iwanami Audio-Visual Media Inc. for facilitating this 35mm showing of Bad Boys
Looking for Jiro
USA 2011 Dir Tina Takemoto 6 min Digital presentation
Performance video by artist Tina Takemoto inspired by the real-life case of a gay Japanese immigrant interned in the US during WWII. Takemoto’s work explores LGBT perspectives on the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and Asian Pacific Islander queer activist history. She is a Queer Cultural Center board member and co-founder of Queer Conversations on Culture and the Arts.
+ Funeral Parade of Roses 18*
Japan 1969 Dir Toshio Matsumoto 105 min Digital presentation [contains flashing imagery]
Matsumoto’s kaleidoscopic masterpiece is one of the most subversive, intoxicating films of the 60s – a headlong dive into a dazzling Tokyo night-world of drag queen bars.
Transgender actor Pîtâ gives an astonishing performance as Eddie, hostess at Bar Genet – where she’s ignited a violent love-triangle with reigning drag queen Leda for the attentions of club owner Gonda. One of Japan’s leading experimental filmmakers,Matsumoto bends and distorts time, and freely mixes documentary interviews, Brechtian film-within-a-film asides, Oedipal premonitions of disaster, his own avant-garde shorts, and even on-screen cartoon balloons. Funeral Parade of Roses is a celebration of youth and subcultures, a condemnation of intolerance, and a one-of-kind cinematic experience.