This post is based on a presentation I put together for Dr. Michael DeAngelis‘ Cinema of Peace class that was taught at DePaul University during the winter 2013 quater. It is simply meant to serve as a brief introduction into the history of postwar Japanese cinema, and is in no way comprehensive. Any factual errors are mine and mine alone, and I welcome any and all corrections, along with any other feedback you wish to provide. Thank you.
POSTWAR JAPANESE CINEMA: REMEMBRANCE, UNDERSTANDING, AND THE PAINFUL ART OF HEALING
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II were atrocities that would have lasting effects upon the nation of Japan and its people for decades afterward. According to Clif Ganyard, “Japan is still the only nation to have experienced a nuclear attack and so it is really the first and only post-nuclear, post-apocalyptic society.” Similarly, Mick Broderick (1996) asserts that “Hiroshima and Nagasaki evoke powerful and sombre associations of holocaust and apocalypse, a microcosm of the twentieth century’s staging ground for a global nuclear war” (p. 2). This becomes evident when looking at Japan’s national cinema; movies produced in Japan often explore the trauma that resulted from the atomic bomb attacks, even when they aren’t explicitly about the event. This post will serve as a a brief examination of Postwar Japanese cinema, with a particular focus on the themes of remembrance, understanding and healing that have been evident in Japanese films since around the end of World War II in 1945.
Continue reading “A Brief History of Postwar Japanese Cinema”
This is a slightly revised version of a paper I wrote for Dr. Michael DeAngelis‘ Cinema of Peace class, which was taught at DePaul University during the winter 2013 quarter. I am currently in the process of sending this paper out for publication. Also, be aware that this paper contains spoilers for both films. Also, because this paper is currently unpublished, I would ask that if you want to quote it or cite it in any way, please contact me for permission first. Thank you.
FAUNS, PHANTASMS AND PERSISTENT MEMORY: EXPLORING NATIONAL TRAUMA AT THE INTERSECTION OF FANTASY AND REALITY
The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) is a trauma that is specific to the nation of Spain, but one that had far reaching consequences that touched several other nations far beyond Spain’s borders. Indeed, the conflict drew soldiers from France, Germany, the Soviet Union and even China, and is often seen as a precursor to World War II (Raychaudhuri, 2001). It eventually took on a significance that went far beyond a Spanish cultural context, with people around the world viewing it as a battleground between fascism and Communisim, and an ideological conflict between oppression and freedom (Preston, 1996, p. 6). The Spanish Civil War left its mark on countries such as Wales, which is home to numerous Spanish Civil War memorials. However, while the Spanish Civil War would have an impact on Spain (and the rest of the world) for decades to come, those within Spain’s borders were not interested in memorializing the conflict, but rather were content to forget that it ever happened. There was a collective effort to forget the trauma caused by the war and the nearly three decades of fascist oppression that followed (Brinks, 2004). Unfortunately, even when an entire nation chooses to forget, the trauma nevertheless remains, and in this case it cast a shadow over not only Spain’s national history, but over the history of the entire world as well.
Continue reading “Exploring the Trauma of the Spanish Civil War at the Intersection of Fantasy and Reality”