Welcome to Kinema Club
Welcome to the website of Kinema Club, a long-standing, international but informal group devoted to the study of Japanese moving image media. Kinema Club was started precisely to share knowledge about Japanese cinema, so this site serves both to introduce our activities, such as the KineJapan mailing list and our conferences and workshops, as well promote information and thinking about films, research, bibliography, and education.
The Bitter Reality of Japanese Youth
Why can’t we call a fiction film a documentary? Both genres use the same film stock, chemically recording real people engaging in real actions before the camera. What difference does it make that it’s “only acting” in fiction? Don’t we all act to some degree in our everyday lives?
These questions seemed to confront...Read more
A Spirited Battle for Nature
It is testimony to the importance of animation in the Japanese film world that the most successful filmmaker in any genre in the last thirteen years - both financially and critically - has without a doubt been Miyazaki Hayao. His epic tales of chivalry and the powers of nature, speaking to...Read more
Orchestral Score of Tokyo LifeRead more
Betting On a Long Shot
Kawase Naomi’s rise to stardom has been nothing less than astronomical. Just a year ago, she was known only to experimental film aficionados as a talented 8mm filmmaker who won of a couple of prizes at the Image Forum Festival and the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (where I helped...Read more
“The Eel” - A Slippery Slide into Sentimentality
When Japan was experiencing its period of high economic growth in the 1960s and 1970s - developing into a modern, consumer society of comfort and technology - Imamura Shohei was there to remind Japanese that they were still human, a state for him not far removed from the...Read more
‘Tis the Season to Be Dopey
There’s always something pitifully absurd about a Japanese Christmas movie. It’s not just the fact that Christmas bells ring a little hollow in a non-Christian culture–it’s because the holiday’s cinematic celebration always comes up looking as shallow and as superficial as the consumeristic concoction Christmas in Japan is....Read more
Gangster Scorched by Underworld Changes
At first glance, Mochizuki Rokuro’s films may look like the run-of-the-mill hard-boiled fare, featuring lone wolves on the edge reveling in the de rigeur sex and violence. Yet certain peculiarities always lift them...Read more
The Unexpected Is the Joy of ‘Life’
It almost feels like Aoyama Shinji has been toying with us all along. With three feature films already under this maverick new director’s belt in the year since his debut, he keeps us guessing about what he will do next.
He started off with...Read more
Smiling at Our Own Imperfections
Did your mother ever give you the old line: “If you can’t make your bed, you’ll never make anything of yourself”? It seemed like a lot of pressure over just arranging a few sheets.
Takashi (Hidaka Yoshitomo), the fourth-grade hero of Summer Tale, has a similar problem. In gym class, he can’t do a back pullover over the...Read more