A Retrospective on Japanese Retrospectives

It's been about half a year since the Tokyo FILMeX took place, but my article on their 2009 retro, "Nippon Modern," is finally out in the most recent edition of Undercurrent, the online journal of FIPRESCI, the international film critics organization. I'd like to thank the editor, Chris Fujiwara (author of the very tempting new book on Jerry Lewis), for inviting me to write. 

In the piece, entitled "A Retrospective on Japanese Retrospectives," I use the retro - and its unfortunate lack of a published catalog - to discuss the problem of "film thinking" in Japan, particularly the way the long and rich history of "film theory" in Japan has tended to be forgotten. I particularly focus on the work of Sato Tadao, a stimulating and complex thinker who is one of the few to really try to remember this history, but in ways that, somewhat symptomatic of the whole situation, do not always support the project of film theory itself. These are problems that I believe are endemic to the way Japanese cinema has been defined in Japan. The article contains some of the thinking that forms the undercurrent (forgive the pun) of my current book project, a history of Japanese film theory.

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