Very little of Japan’s vast cinematic output has made it onto foreign shores, perhaps not too surprising given that its industry stretches right back to the genesis of the medium and turns out on average about 500 titles a year. Genres such as sci-fi, horror and fantasy have generally been well represented abroad, but the boom in J-horror films in the wake of titles such as The Ring (1998) and Audition (1999) have crowded out discussions about how and when the fantastique first took root in Japanese cinema.
In this illustrated talk Jasper Sharp will explore the out reaches of Japanese fantasy cinema, from the embryonic trick films of ‘The Father of Japanese Film’ Shozo Makino through oddball homegrown sub-genres such as the prewar ‘ghost cat’ (bakeneko or kaibyô) films and the ama cycle of sexy pearl diver films such as Girl Divers at Spook Mansion (1959), some long-lost Japanese takes on the movie monsters of Universal Studios, the pink film-horror of directors like Tetsuji Takechi and Kinya Ogawa and much, much more, all peppered with a liberal amount of clips of some truly bizarre titles that remain either unseen or unseeable to modern audiences outside of the country.
About the instructor:
Jasper Sharp is a writer, curator and filmmaker. He is the co-founder of Midnight Eye.com, since 2001 the premier online resource in the English-language about Japanese cinema. His book publications include The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film (Stone Bridge, 2003), joint-written with Tom Mes, Behind the Pink Curtain (FAB Press, 2008) and The Historical Dictionary of Japanese Film (Scarecrow 2011). His writing has appeared in publications all over the world, including Sight & Sound, The Guardian, Variety, The Japan Times, Kateigaho and Film International, and he has contributed liner essays, commentaries and interviews to numerous DVD releases. He has curated high profile seasons and retrospectives with organisations including the British Film Institute, Deutches Filmmuseum, Austin Fantastic Fest, Cinematheque Quebecois and Thessaloniki International Film Festival. Between 2010-14, he was the director of Zipangu Fest, established to showcase Japanese independent film in the United Kingdom, and between 2014-2016, the artistic director of Asia House Film Festival. He is the co-director, with Tim Grabham, of The Creeping Garden (2014), a documentary about slime moulds and the people who study and work with them, to be released by Arrow early in 2017, and the author of the book of the film, The Creeping Garden: Irrational Encounters with Plasmodial Slime Moulds (Alchimia Publishing, 2015).
About the Miskatonic Institute:
Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is a non-profit, community-based organization that started in Canada, founded by Kier-La Janisse in March of 2010. The school currently has branches in Montreal and London, with Miskatonic London operating under the co-direction of Kier-La Janisse and Electric Sheep Founder/Editor Virginie Sélavy.
All classes take place at the historic Horse Hospital, the heart of the city’s underground culture. Season ticket is £35 and will be available shortly. Individual class tickets are £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concessions and will be available 30 days in advance of each class.
For full details of the next courses please check the Miskatonic website. For all enquiries, please email Miskatonic.london[at]gmail.com.