Nissan Seminar: The Cinematic Re-enactment of Naomi Kawase

Convener(s): Dr Natalia Doan and Professor Sho Konishi

Speaker(s): Professor Erin Schoneveld, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages & Cultures and Visual Studies, Haverford College

These seminars will occur live and will not be recorded. Unauthorized recording is strictly prohibited.

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The Cinematic Re-enactment of Naomi Kawase

Speaker Bio: Erin Schoneveld’s scholarship and teaching engages modern and contemporary Japanese art, cinema, and visual culture. She is the author of Shirakaba and Japanese Modernism: Art Magazines, Artistic Collectives, and the Early Avant-garde (Brill 2019), which provides a critical framework for understanding the tensions between the local and the universal that accompanied the global development of modernism. Her current research project on Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase examines the role of women directors within national and world cinema cultures.

Abstract: Naomi Kawase (b. 1969) is Japan’s most internationally renowned female filmmaker winning the Cannes Camera d’Or in 1997 for her debut feature Suzaku, the Cannes Grand Jury Prize in 2003 for Shara, the Cannes Grand Prix in 2007 for Mogari no mori, and, most recently, directing the Official Film for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Using Kawase’s personal and professional biography as my narrative thread, this talk examines the development of her filmmaking style through the lens of “cinematic reenactment.” I will consider how Kawase uses “cinematic reenactment” as a mode of self-documentation to explore and reenact biographies of loss. Through an analysis of her early documentary work such as Ni tsutsumarete (Embracing, 1992); Katatsumori (1994); and Kya Ka Ra BaA (Sky, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth, 2001) I argue “cinematic reenactment” is a tool, a methodology, and a practice that not only allows Kawase to investigate the ways in which absence and memory have shaped her identity, but also informs the content, style, and reception of her award-winning feature length works.