1990s Experimental Film in Japan: Women’s Anarchic Visions of the Everyday
Guest curated by Wakae Nakane and Miryam Sas
Cosponsored by the Center for Japanese Studies at UC Berkeley
Wakae Nakane is a PhD student in cinema and media studies at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, whose research interests include Japanese film and culture and feminist theory and historiography.
Miryam Sas is a professor of comparative literature and film and media at UC Berkeley.
The early 1990s saw a surge in the participation of women filmmakers working in the Japanese experimental film scene, bringing them into a circle that had previously been almost exclusively male. Access to affordable equipment and better-developed infrastructure, including platforms such as Image Forum and Pia Film Festival, encouraged women’s active participation. Departing from the formal exploration and abstract structuralism that had long dominated the male realm of filmic experimentalism, these creators shifted toward experiments centered on the materiality of the everyday, the body, and the cityscape. A new anarchic playfulness and emphasis on experimental narrative served the filmmakers’ articulations of various concerns, from issues of identity, familial dynamics, and sexuality, to pervasive social alienation. These rarely seen films—by Yuko Asano, Hiromi Saiki, Yukie Saito, Mari Terashima, and Utako Koguchi—direct our attention to the ritualistic nature of women’s lives by critically and playfully interrogating the performativity and constructed nature of the everyday.
Films in this Screening
The Life of Ants
(Ari no seikatsu)
Yūko Asano, Japan, 1994
The Night When Water Comes Down
(Mizu no furu yoru ni)
Yukie Saitō, Japan, 1992
The Place Which Isn’t Necessarily Wrong
(Anagachi machigatteru tomo ienai kū)
Hiromi Saiki, Japan, 1996
Mari Terashima, Japan, 1991
A Dandelion, Rosaceae
Utako Koguchi, Japan, 1990