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By Abe Mark Nornes

“Extraordinarily precious, illuminating, or even enjoyable, woodland of strain brims with the categories of knowledge that just a key insider can get his arms on.” —Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, big apple collage   Ogawa Productions—known in Asia as Ogawa Pro—was an influential filmmaking collective that all started within the Sixties below the path of Ogawa Shinsuke (1936–1992). among 1968 and the mid-1970s, Ogawa seasoned electrified the japanese scholar flow with its Sanrizuka documentary series—eight motion pictures chronicling the big protests over the development of the Narita airport—which has for the reason that develop into the normal opposed to which documentaries are measured in Japan.   A severe biography of a collective, wooded area of strain explores the emergence of socially devoted documentary filmmaking in postwar Japan. examining Ogawa Pro’s movies and works through different jap filmmakers, Ab? Mark Nornes addresses key concerns in documentary idea and perform, together with person and collective cinema creation modes and the connection among topic and item. taking advantage of unparalleled entry to Ogawa Pro’s information and interviews with former participants, wooded area of strain is an leading edge examine the destiny of political filmmaking within the wake of the movement’s loss of life.   Ab? Mark Nornes is affiliate professor of reveal arts and cultures and Asian languages and cultures on the collage of Michigan. he's a coordinator on the Yamagata foreign Documentary movie competition and the writer of jap Documentary movie: The Meiji period via Hiroshima (Minnesota, 2003).

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They would look at rushes or rough cuts, analyzing what they saw and debating in highly technical terms. What was the cameraman thinking when he made that shot? Why use that lens? What kinds of meanings are produced by the cameraman’s pan at that particular moment? How could a certain scene be re-edited? What would happen if the editor put these two shots together? The discussions were spirited, contentious, and alcohol-driven. In an interview with Kato Takanobu, also known as “the Last Ogawa Pro Member,” cameraman Otsu Koshiro described the atmosphere: We would draw on topics like Eisenstein’s collision montage theory for our discussions.

Building room to maneuver within the structure of what was essentially a PR firm, the managers allowed their filmmakers the (relative) freedom to stretch the limits of the PR film. Ironically enough, however, Iwanami’s biggest contribution to postwar cinema came from when its best filmmakers quit to make many of the great independent films of the 1960s, both fiction and documentary. Ogawa was among this group. A key factor in this scenario was one of the most unusual research groups in the history of documentary, Iwanami’s Blue Group (Ao no Kai).

Sakuma Dam and Nishio Zensuke’s Kurobe Valley (Kurobe keikoku, 1957) thrilled people with their twist on the “man against nature” theme. Rather than a Japanese Nanook battling a seal, they pitched construction workers and their machines against natural formations being transformed by massive public works projects. The war receded to the past in these films filled with images of prosperity and growth. Ise Chonosuke’s Karakoram (1956) even removed spectators from Japan by following a Japanese research team to the Himalayas.

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