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Murakami Haruki and Cinema

Just a quick note to say that I will be participating in an international colloquium on Murakami Haruki that will take place in Strasbourg and Paris this week. Hosted by Antonin Bechler of the Université de Strasbourg and Hitoshi Ishida of Toyo University, the "Colloque international 'Haruki Murakami au présent et au futur'" features a great set of participants, including a few from the Kawabata symposium in Paris a few years back. I will actually appear in the Paris section of the colloquium, which will take place at the Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris on March 17, just like with the Kawabata event. I will be on a panel that will focus on Murakami’s relation to cinema. It might not be well known, but Murakami was not only an avid film fan, but he actually majored in film in college, hoping to become a screenwriter. (One paper will talk about why he didn’t become one.) My talk will be a sort of continuation of my writing on Kawabata Yasunari and film, which started with the book on A Page of Madness and continued with other publications such as this. I question the tendency to discuss the relation between film and literature by presuming a notion of cinema and then attempting to find “cinematic” elements in literature. I ask first what concept or even theory of cinema literary figures might have before considering how that shapes their writing. For the Murakami colloquium, I take the fact that Murakami, while in general refusing to allow film adaptations of most of his work, quite readily allows students to make short films based on his works (he told me that when at Yale), to consider whether that does not evince another conception of cinema on Murakami’s part.

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