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    From Japan to Africa: transnationality in Hani Susumu’s Theory and Cinematic Experience From Japan to Africa

    Centeno Martin, Marcos Pablo (2020) From Japan to Africa: transnationality in Hani Susumu’s Theory and Cinematic Experience From Japan to Africa. In: Centeno Martin, Marcos Pablo and Morita, N. (eds.) Japan beyond its Borders: Transnational Approaches to Film and Media. Tokyo, Japan: Seibunsha, pp. 119-132. ISBN 4901404326.

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    This paper assesses the transnational dimension of Hani Susumu´s film theory and practice. Hani engaged in the theoretical discussions about avant-garde art, which was developed by the culture circles that proliferated in postwar Japan. However, his ‘filmmaking method’ is to a great extent shaped by foreign influences: a ‘synthetic art’ combining photography and literature and emotional approaches to the social reality of the thirties by American authors linked to the ‘New Deal’, the humanist tendency in the British documentary movement, Robert Flaherty and the authors who engaged in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the personal criticism developed by Polish filmmakers. Hani’s filmmaking method which propses filming non-scripted action with non-professional actors is aimed at capturing a world free from filmmakers’ pre-established ideas. The Song of Bwana Toshi, shot in East Africa, is the first a series of films that Hani made in remote places. Africa becomes a place that allows Hani to challenge the reality that is imposed by a filmmaker, as he can film spontaneous actions by characters that do not know cinema and are alien to concept of acting. Thus, Hani finds in Africa a cinema that rejects cinema and its artifice. Hani also uses these remote locations to present the protagonist’s encounter with Japan outside Japan where the dichotomy between the concepts of uchi (inside) and soto (outside) become ambiguous. Hani’s case reveals an extraordinary sensitivity to foreign ideas and transnational film practices and illustrates how the singularities of Japanese Cinema are not necessarily the result of the isolation of this film culture.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Hani Susumu, The Song of Bwana Toshi, Africa and cinema, transnational cinema, New Wave, Japanese film theory, art of synthesis, uchi and soto.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Marcos Pablo Centeno Martin
    Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2021 09:56
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:48


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