Digital technology has transformed cinema’s production, distribution, and consumption patterns and pushed contemporary cinema toward increasingly global markets. In the case of Japanese cinema, a once moribund industry has been revitalized as regional genres such as anime and Japanese horror now challenge Hollywood’s preeminence in global cinema. In her rigorous investigations of J-horror, personal documentary, anime, and ethnic cinema, Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano deliberates on the role of the transnational in bringing to the mainstream what were formerly marginal B-movie genres. She argues persuasively that convergence culture, which these films represent, constitutes Japan’s response to the variegated flows of global economics and culture.
With its timely analysis of new modes of production emerging from the struggles of Japanese filmmakers and animators to finance and market their work in a post-studio era, this book holds critical implications for the future of other national cinemas fighting to remain viable in a global marketplace. As academics in film and media studies prepare a wholesale shift toward a transnational perspective of film, Wada-Marciano cautions against jettisoning the entire national cinema paradigm. Discussing the technological advances and the new cinematic flows of consumption, she demonstrates that while contemporary Japanese film, on the one hand, expresses the transnational as an object of desire (i.e., a form of total cosmopolitanism), on the other hand, that desire is indeed inseparable from Japan’s national identity.
Drawing on a substantial number of interviews with auteur directors such as Kore’eda Hirokazu, Kurosawa Kiyoshi, and Kawase Naomi, and incisive analysis of select film texts, this compelling, original work challenges the presumption that Hollywood is the only authentically “global” cinema.
Subjects: Film Studies
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