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  • Weekend Tangent: Louis Vuitton Journeys Award shortlisted J movie short has multicultural couple

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on July 9th, 2012

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    Hi Blog. As a Weekend Tangent, here’s a letter from a Debito.org Reader who has appeared in a short film you might be interested in.  I’ll let him tell you about it:

    ///////////////////////////////////////////
    July 4, 2012
    Debito-san,

    In late May 2012, I was approached by a young and passionate Tokyo guy. He asked me if I can act in a short silent movie. He said that he is shooting this movie to participate in Louis Vuitton’s Journeys Awards competition. The competition gives emerging artists/producers/directors an opportunity to get into limelight.

    When he explained me the script, I could see why he approached me specifically. The story was about an Indian professional who was married to a Japanese woman. The Indian had to return to India … and the movie was about the moments of emotions after he told this to his wife. He was asking me to share the real moments of my life for his movie!

    Please check the following link to watch the (5 minute) movie online.
    http://www.journeysawards.com/en_US/shortlisted/Departure/

    While this movie is not directly related to your core topics of discussion in debito.org, I think the selection of this movie in shortlisted 10 (from among 100s of submissions), proves two things in a very subtle way… two very important things.

    SYNOPSIS (from site):  

    DEPARTURE

    A Japanese woman, Yuko is about to move out from Japan since her Indian husband got transferred to his own country India. In spite of having a great devotion and affection to her husband Yuko can’t stop feeling the anxiety to depart for her new life in India and the reluctance to be apart from her parents and her hometown. Impulsively running from the reality, she needs to find a faith for herself.

    What does the movie’s shortlisting success prove? …

    1) Young Japanese artists/producers/directors are open to multicultural Japan and they are willing to take a chance on Japan that is not homogeneous.

    2) Multicultural Japan can compete just as effectively as monocultural Japan (there is another movie from Japan also in shortlisted 10!)

    If you think that the above topic/note will be of interest to your blog readers, please feel free to post it.

    ===========

    (And feel free to vote for it, Debito.org Readers, if you want. Arudou Debito)

    ENDS

    5 Responses to “Weekend Tangent: Louis Vuitton Journeys Award shortlisted J movie short has multicultural couple”

    1. Charuzu Says:

      Certainly those in the arts in Japan are far more open to other ways of thinking than the bulk of all J.

      However, just as there were open-minded talented artists in feudal Japan, or in Soviet Russia, it is unclear whether this has any implications for mainstream Japan.

      It does show, as you say, that J are not homogenous, and that tolerant J do exist.

    2. Fight Back Says:

      Unfortunately, there is a hint of the ‘other’ to all this, where all too often NJ are seen as entertainment or subjects of curiosity. If this film is successful it’s very likely the director will move onto other things, becoming more mainstream by covering more ‘appropriate’ topics for a Japanese audience and this dalliance with ‘internationalization’ will be seen merely as a whim of youth.

    3. Baudrillard Says:

      @ Fight back, thats a cynical view but “there is a chance you could be right” as Simon Le Bon once warbled (thats for Debito, do not know why it popped in my mind just then).

      Iwatched the clip and did not like it. Why? because there is no dialog; it is a postmodern “japanese cliche” that 1. It is silent understanding and 2. This “Ishiin Denshin” is understood by all.

      So I actually agree with you but for a different reason in that the style of the clip offers nothing new from Japanese cinema and if anything is pandering to the indie J arty fan market in the west where they think “Oh, how deep. They do not say anything and it conveys soooo much”. I am sure it will get an award from some Japanophile academics who will work meanings into it again, meanings which are not there. Someone will say it reflects the “Zen” of everyday life in Japan next. And somehow this gaijin, this good gaijin in the movie, gets that.

      Yada yada. In the words of a Japanese businessman friend of mine back in the 90s, “This just causes misunderstanding among Japanese”.

      IS there any dialog in the rest of the movie? Sorry to rain on the love fest and sound somewhat like Malcolm X.

      – I think that’s the entire movie. It’s a short.

    4. Baudrillard Says:

      Me and my other half also thought it was extremely fake and pretentious in it’s attempt to be “real”. Acting all deep to convey a real life drama, now that is postmodern!

      Sorry, I really think Louis Vuitton want to include Japanese entries as a sop to a market. The Ars Awards in Austria are like that too, used to be big on Japanese entries, now its Chinese entries. Or FIFA, trying to “grow” football in Asian markets. Am I too cynical? I bet Debito says I am!

      – No, if you provide evidence as to how the Ars Awards does sops by nationality, I’d be convinced it might be a factor — after all, corporate sponsors present latent conflicts of interest. Then again, it kinda precludes ever taking any positive judgment of art seriously on its own merits as opposed to its country of origin. I was just convinced by the submitter’s background knowledge about the director to believe this work was a sincere attempt. You weren’t. Oh well. Some might call it cynicism, some might call it a matter of taste.

    5. Jim Di Griz Says:

      I’d like to see how the synopsis comes across in Japanese. Could just have easily read;

      A Japanese woman, Yuko, will soon have no choice but to leave Japan because her husband (who is an Indian) got transferred home. Although she feels a great sense of duty and obligation to her husband, she can’t help but be afraid of starting a new life in India and she doesn’t want to be torn from her family and hometown….

      You get the picture.

      Quite frankly, I think we should beware of reading too much into it, or believing what we are spoon fed to believe is the story. All I took away from it was that there was a scene where she was doing some non-Japanese passport stuff, her husband having a beer with his NJ mate, then she goes for a run and a cry. The same film could easily be a ‘don’t marry NJ or this is what will happen to you’ message.

      N.B. I am a cynic about everything.

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