Luminous and Vibrant – The Cinema of Shinji Somai
Shinji SOMAI is arguably Japan’s most important director from the 1980s into the 1990s, even though he is barely known abroad. Part of this is due to the fact that he often worked in popular genres such as the idol movie (DREAMY FIFTEEN), the youth film (TYPHOON CLUB) or even pink film (LOVE HOTEL). His masterful use of the long long take, however, influenced an entire generation, which from Shinji AOYAMA to Kiyoshi KUROSAWA pursued one-shot-one-scene filming, less out of deference to Kenji MIZOGUCHI than in a conversation with SOMAI. Against MIZOGUCHI’s aestheticization of falling women, SOMAI’s depiction of growing girls, for all its mythification of youth, resonated with many for its precarity, his camera style teetering between movement and the frame, freedom and control, adolescence and adulthood, reality and aesthetics, life and death, as if announcing the simultaneous birth and death of cinema. (Aaron Gerow)
In addition to the film introductions, Aaron Gerow (Professor of Film Studies and East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale University) will give a lecture “Shinji SOMAI and the Long Take”.