Unlike the French nouvelle vague, the Japanese movement initially began within the studios, albeit with young, and previously little-known filmmakers. The term was first coined within the studios (and in the media) as a Japanese version of the French New Wave... [more]
Unlike the French nouvelle vague, the Japanese movement initially began within the studios, albeit with young, and previously little-known filmmakers. The term was first coined within the studios (and in the media) as a Japanese version of the French New Wave movement. Nonetheless, the Japanese New Wave filmmakers drew from some of the same international influences that inspired their French colleagues, and as the term stuck, the seemingly artificial movement surrounding it began to rapidly develop into a critical and increasingly independent film movement.
One distinction in the French movement was its roots with the journal Cahiers du Cinéma; as many future filmmakers began their careers as critics and cinema deconstructionists, it would become apparent that new kinds of film theory (most prominently, auteur theory) were emerging with them.
The Japanese movement developed at roughly the same time (with several important 1950s precursor films), but arose as more of a movement devoted to questioning, analyzing, critiquing and (at times) upsetting social conventions.
One Japanese filmmaker who did emerge from a background akin to his French colleagues was Nagisa Oshima, who had been a leftist activist and an analytical film critic before being hired by a studio. Oshima's earliest films (1959-60) could be seen as direct outgrowths of opinions voiced in his earlier published analysis. Cruel Story of Youth, Oshima's landmark second film (one of four he directed in 1959 and 1960) saw an international release very immediately in the wake of Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless and François Truffaut's The 400 Blows.
Directors initially associated with the Japanese New Wave included Susumu Hani, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Yasuzo Masumura, Masahiro Shinoda, Nagisa Oshima and Shohei Imamura. Certain other filmmakers who had already launched careers - Seijun Suzuki, Ko Nakahira and Kaneto Shindo also came to be occasionally associated with the movement.
Working separately, they explored a number of ideas previously not often seen in more traditional Japanese cinema: social outcasts as protagonists (including criminals or delinquents), uninhibited sexuality, changing roles of women in society, racism and the position of ethnic minorities in Japan], and the critique of (or deconstruction of) social structures and assumptions. Protagonists like Tome from Imamura's The Insect Woman (1963) or the adolescent delinquents of Oshima's Cruel Story of Youth (1960) represented rebellion, but also gave domestic and international audiences a glimpse into lives that would otherwise likely escape cinematic attention.
excerpt from wikipedia (ml) [show less]