Japn 340 Japanese Cinema
Final Paper Ideas
1. Following the Kurosawa Thread Option
You might, as Yoshimoto does (p. 349), take Stephen Prince's notion that, beginning in the postwar period, Kurosawa was interested in how the self, the individual, was constructed and functioned in modern Japan. There was that feeling that Japan needed a different kind of subjectivity than what was experienced in the 1930s and during wartime, and Kurosawa was trying to explore that in some of his early films in order to help Japanese people construct some values and a sense of self that were suited to a modern, democratic era. In other words, perhaps his films had a kind of political or social agenda associated with them. And you could examine how that notion holds up in films like Ikiru, Kagemusha and Rhapsody in August. Prince doesn't find much evidence for these kinds of concerns expressed in later films like Kagemusha and Ran. What do you think? What is Yoshimoto's take on Prince's way of looking at Kurosawa's films? Where would you place yourself in this discussion?
2. Focusing on After Life and Departures
Taking a look at these final two films by younger filmmakers, what sort of perspective do you think they offer? How does their visual style compare with other films that we have watched? Memories seem to be a concern of both films and of Rhapsody in August as well. Could you formulate a discussion around that theme?