by Chris MaGee
One amazing thing about Japanese cinema is it's long history. Motion pictures came to the country only a year after their creation in France in 1895 and although many of Japan's earliest films are now lost to us we do know that Japan almost immediately began to use this new technology from Europe. These first few decades of film in Japan is a fascinating era and one that Prof. Aaron Gerow is shining the spotlight on in his upcoming book "Visions of Japanese Modernity: Articulations of Cinema, Nation, and Spectatorship, 1895-1925". Gerow, Professor of Film Studies and East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale University, has already published an insightful study of the films and career of Takeshi Kitano; but now with "Visions of Japanese Modernity" he'll give us a clearer picture of how the Japanese incorporated motion picture technology into their already existing narrative traditions. Specifically he explores the role of the Pure Film Movement, which advocated a more natural and less theatrical cinema, in the formation of Japanese feature films in the early 20th-century. Fascinating stuff. We can look forward to Prof. Gerow's book being released on May 10th from the University of California Press. Thanks to Aaron Gerow's blog for the word on this.
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