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In the films she discusses, Hake argues, hatred of the Nazis creates an affective correspondence between protagonists and audiences. The friend-enemy distinction that motivates the fascist imaginary here operates as an affective force to engage the cinematic spectator, while also establishing the Author: Joel Westerdale.

Date: Jan. From: The German Quarterly Vol. Document Type: Book review. Length: words. Sign In to view the full article. However, this method presents a twofold inconsistency: First, it neglects the fact that key films and filmmakers often used as representatives of certain national cinemas do not necessarily reject Hollywood patterns of representation.

Second, contributions from cultural studies Bourdieu , pp. Burch noted that Japanese filmmakers did not follow Western cannons, and instead, seemed to evolve from their own cultural referents.

Biographical Sketch

However, theories on Japanese film should be developed without neglecting interactions between the local and the global, as Burch himself noted:. There is an awkward problem which the observer of Japanese things must confront. To my knowledge, no substantial effort has yet been made in the West to define or analyse this phenomenon, though it has often been commented upon. Burch , p. Although this point was never developed in his book, Burch opens interesting possibilities for studying Japanese specificity from its singular adaptation of Western codes. Aspects of this national history were well received by foreign audiences—such as Nazism and war topics—, while domestic audiences preferred socially concerned films on topics like feminism, regionalism, and oppressed minorities, which were covered by television reportages in other countries.

Similarly, the idea of Japanese Cinema as a National Cinema started to be articulated in the postwar period through films that were being exported overseas. However, Giuglaris and Giuglaris , who were film critics working in Japan in the s, point out a paradoxical fact: the films just mentioned, which were receiving awards in the West, were being substantially unsuccessful in Japan. It was not even considered a B Grade film Their book includes quotations from viewers showing their incredulity saying that they could not believe that this film had been granted an award by a foreign jury.

Something similar happened with The Gate of Hell , which was not even included in the best 10 of that year. In fact, four months after its success in Cannes, it was a resounding failure at the Japanese box office. What sort of mysterious phenomenon was taking place, according to which unnoticed films in Japan were becoming so successful in the West? After a brief overview of the Japanese films that had triumphed in Europe and the U. While jidaigeki seems to have fascinated Western spectators, this genre had been particularly promoted alongside the rise of militarism from the s and presumably Japanese audiences were no longer attracted by this theme in the postwar period.

Also, David Bordwell proposed another hypothesis; that these films projected such a high exoticism that not even the Japanese could identify with it. Nevertheless, this did not happen by chance; it was a consequence of a policy deliberately designed by Japanese Studios aimed at astonishing foreign audiences with exotic images of a distant country. As a consequence, it cannot be said that works screened at European festivals were in accordance with the general taste in Japan. To a great extent, films distributed in Europe and the U.

Unlike the other big five studios of the s, Daiei had no distribution network and barely owned theatres for exhibition. The latter, particularly, had no choice but to develop a policy oriented towards foreign exportation.


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As the president of Daiei, Masaichi Nagata, acknowledged:. The ideal solution to Japanese Cinema is conquering the American market.


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Experience has shown us that European films have never made much of an impact [on the] North American market. That must be taken into account. We carefully studied international markets and then we noticed that the weak point was in the European countries.

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It was then that we decided to launch historical, traditional, exotic films to be submitted in their festivals, mainly Venice and Cannes. Giuglaris and Giuglaris , p. My translation. This question makes theorising Japanese cinema highly problematic, as it was based on a fragmented view of its film heritage which had been cherry-picked to astonish audiences in the West.

This brings to the fore how, ironically, the idea of national cinema ended up being constructed from the outside. In this sense, Kikuo Yamamoto p. It is important to note that this imaginary was created ignoring the complexity of transcultural interactions. However, we should not forget that in the s Ozu and Mizoguchi belonged to a group of filmmakers seeking to modernise cinema by adapting Western modes of representation.

Foreign filmmakers such as Fritz Lang, F. For instance, Ozu and Mizoguchi opposed the use of onnagata , men playing female roles, inherited from the tradition of Kabuki theatre and also rejected the use of benshi , narrators during the screenings. Benshi invented dialogues and interpreted films according to their will in order to fix meanings and avoid manipulations, both filmmakers added intertitles, which was a clear sign of Western influence during the silent era. This methodology can be developed in two directions. One would be grouping films that share a common style or formal systems of representation that work as an allegory of a national culture.

However, this tendency was based on a structural problem: understanding Japanese cinema as if it were a unified text, ignoring the plurality of narrative patterns and historical stages. Another direction that the text-based approach may take is gathering those films projecting an alleged idea of a Nation. These studies explore to what extent cinema is engaged in constructing a sort of national identity. The main weakness of this method is mistakenly considering that national cinema has provided unproblematised imagery of nationhood, neglecting any ethnic, social, cultural, or sexual diversity.

The 19th-century definitions of a nation based on communities apparently sharing a certain language, religion, and folkways have been called into question by recent approaches. As Anthony Giddens , p. Cinema played a major role in the dissemination of these national entities.

See a Problem?

However, while some films may be seen as a result of a millenary philological and aesthetic tradition, others can only be explained by calling this tradition into question. In other words, some films are precisely made as a response to rather than as a result of their cultural background.

Not less important are the critical voices raising contradictions regarding the continuity of the Imperial Household in the postwar democracy. In his criticism of seeing films as a mirror of a nation, Higson noted that while the paradigm of National Cinema may be helpful for labeling films, it is a dangerous tautology that necessarily fails to reflect the diversity of every society 63— This ideological construction has perpetuated an artificial imagination alongside nationalist discourses that always try to repress the complexity that shapes every society.

Thus, films tend to project a homogeneous community which needs to be coherent with stereotypes, national myths and what is considered part of the traditional culture, therefore articulating an image that is too simplistic and, as a consequence, necessarily wrong. A more comprehensive approach to national cinema should take into account those examples presenting resistance to predominant discourses and including these stories of crisis and negotiation of the idea of nation. This proves to be a helpful epistemological tool to determine how cinematic productions are unavoidably hybrid cultural forms.

From the early s, the global world and the increasingly international production and circulation of films have prompted scholars to seek new theoretical frameworks along these lines. Mette Hjort , pp. Simultaneously, Higbee and Song , pp. Toby Miller marked a departure from earlier paradigms, using World Cinemas as a rubric, with strong intellectual allegiances to Area Studies, collectively grouping films from non-Western geographies.

Harootunian and Miyoshi argued that Area Studies in general had collapsed in the s, stating that the fall of the Berlin Wall triggered the end of geographical locations as sufficient criteria in themselves for academic research. In recent years, key figures of the cinematographic scene in Japan would fall out of this category.

The Path to Nazi Genocide

Despite its contradictions, this text-based approach has triggered a long discussion since the influential Siegfried Kracauer proposed a study of cinema as a cultural expression of a nation. Caligari , Kracauer claimed that the film anticipated the rise of Nazism in Germany and explained how films can project the anxieties, fears, and daydreams of a society in which they are made. Soon after that, Georges Sadoul revitalised this tendency, stating that nation and people are the material on which a great number of films are based.

These authors discuss the necessity of studying where and when cultural parameters produce meaning on cinematographic images. Prince claims that every discourse, either linguistic or cinematographic, is culturally set, and as a result, concludes that systems of signs do not produce meaning outside a cultural and social context Prince , p.

Screen Nazis: Cinema, History, and Democracy - Sabine Hake - Google 圖書

To form a national cinema, it would be necessary for a given nation to have a sound film production, with enough historical weight to be able to create its own cinematic macro-discourse. Thus, the existence of a national cinema would depend on the consistency of a shared imaginary and its own referential universe. Japanese cinema has often been used as a quintessential example of this theoretical perspective, seeking to justify how it is built on a self-referential universe, dominated by singular narrative and aesthetic conventions.

However, this approach presents a structural limitation, only tackling film works from within national borders and neglecting transnational phenomena of a different kind that can be found in film production, distribution, or consumption. Rosen also reduced the imaginary of a national cinema to local references, a limiting view that does not take into account a wider intertextuality beyond national borders.