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Contemporary Japanese Cinema Since Hana-Bi$
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Adam Bingham

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748683734

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748683734.001.0001

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Postmodernism and Magic Realism in Contemporary Japanese Cinema

Postmodernism and Magic Realism in Contemporary Japanese Cinema

(p.120) 5. Postmodernism and Magic Realism in Contemporary Japanese Cinema
Contemporary Japanese Cinema Since Hana-Bi

Adam Bingham

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter addresses a comparatively recent phenomenon in Japanese cinema – namely magic realism – and argues that this amorphous artistic and cultural mode can best be understood through recourse to postmodernity as both a correlative and a contrastive mode that in crucial respects casts light on magic realism’s cultural and artistic practices. The chapter examines extant discourse on magic realism in art (painting and literature) before going on to look at how a selection of individual films cross-fertilize this mode with postmodernism in order to provide a new discursive framework within which to engage with the problematic concept of Japan as a known and knowable entity – a country with a (perceived) defined and delineated identity that can be both captured and transmitted. Films like Kitano’s Dolls or Imamura’s Warm Water Under The Red Bridge engage critically with, and offer a dialectical relationship to, the proliferation of both Japanese touristic spectacle in advertising campaigns and with the relatively recent proliferation of western travel writing about Japan. This is examined here alongside analyses of style (especially mise-en-scène) and form as they contribute to a critical understanding of how the frequent post-colonial imperatives of magic realism can be applied to a first world example.

Keywords:   Miike Takashi, Kitano Takeshi, Fredric Jameson, Imamura Shohei, Koreeda Hirokazu, Touristic spectacle, ‘Japan’, Dolls, Travel literature, Post-colonial

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