Exploring the Madness of Art and Film in 1980s Japan
Fast approaching AFS Cinema is Hachimiri Madness, our programming series of 11 experimental Japanese features and shorts from the country’s “punk years.” Many of today’s biggest Japanese filmmakers burst out of this time period (roughly the 1980s, give or take a few years on each end) with ferocity and unfettered DIY sensibilities — directors like Shinya Tsukamoto (TETSUO: THE IRON MAN, TOKYO FIST), Gakuryū “Sogo” Ishii (BURST CITY), and Masashi Yamamoto (ROBINSON’S GARDEN).
These auteurs were using hachimiri — cheap 8mm film — to create their art and the movement they created would later be called jishu eiga, translated as “autonomous” or “self-made” film. However, “self-made” in this case isn’t directly comparable to independently made films. To quote Midnight Eye writer Jasper Sharp, “‘independent’ has come to mean any film produced outside of the main studio system … In contrast, jishu eiga are funded and produced entirely outside of the industry.”
To understand the filmmakers of this era, it’s important to know what else was going on in the country. And according to AFS Associate Programmer Jazmyne Moreno, the following video — HUNTING TIGERS (Steven Okazaki) — captures the anything-goes spirit of the time; a perfect primer to the upcoming series.
Moreno says, “this video is an irreverent look at the Japanese art scene from Steven Okazaki (LIVING ON TOKYO TIME). Featuring such artists as pop singer Jun Togawa, performance artist Rosa Tsukinoyo, collage maker Genqui Numata (aka ‘The Bonsai Kid’), and dancer Saburô Teshigawara, this off-beat short sets out to prove or disprove writer Kenzaburō Ōe’s assertion that young artists of the time were simply ‘spoiled, un-original and too influenced by Western culture.’”
Hachimiri Madness screens every Wednesday from 2/1–3/1 and brings with it 11 jishu eiga features and shorts. Check out the full schedule below, and prepare to embrace the madness.
HACHIMIRI MADNESS: JAPANESE INDIES FROM THE PUNK YEARS
HAPPINESS AVENUE and THE ADVENTURE OF DENCHU KOZO
February 8 at 8:30 PM
I AM SION SONO!! and A MAN’S FLOWER ROAD
February 11 at 3:45 PM (*rescheduled from February 1)
THE RAIN WOMEN and ISOLATION OF 1/880000
Febraury 15 at 8:30 PM
SAINT TERRORISM, UNK, and HIGH SCHOOL TERROR
February 22 at 7:45 PM
TOKYO CABBAGEMAN K and HANASARERU GANG
March 1 at 8:30 PM