by Chris MaGee
Regular readers of the J-Film Pow-Wow blog will know that amongst the five of us writers I'm the one with a huge soft spot for all that's experimental and unapologetically art house. One specific interest that I have is the uses of butoh dance in Japanese film and world film in general, in fact I'm so interested in this topic that I've been researching and writing a book on the subject with a tentative title of "Dance in Darkness: The History of Butoh Dance on Film". A huge part of this story are the experimental films of Donald Richie, photographer Eikoh Hosoe and Takahiko Iimura that featured butoh dance founder Tatsumi Hijikata. If you're a fan of the films of Teruo Ishii you'll know Hijikata from his appearance in Ishii's film "The Horrors of Malformed Men" (refresh your memory with its trailer below.) Jasper Sharp and Tom Mes of Midnight Eye have been crucial in getting me to sit down and write about butoh dance on film and both were very kind to post an excerpt of my in-progess book that deals with Hijikata and the very first butoh dance films as part of the latest Midnight Eye updates. Please check it out here, and while you're at it check out Julian Ross' wonderful interview with on of the key players in the strory of butoh dance on film (and experimental film pioneer) Takahiko Iimura here.
*Oh, and if anyone out there knows of a publisher who'd be interested in a book on the history of butoh dance on film let me know!!!