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Camera Movement in Japanese Silent Films (and the 20th Giornate del Cinema Muto, in Sacile, Italy, October 2001)

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Given that a large percentage of silent films have been lost forever, and given that the survival rate for Asian silent films is even lower than it is for European and American silent films, it is not surprising that written histories on the subject of Asian silent cinemas are scant in number and somewhat speculative. Perhaps the greatest of all tragedies of lost film history, is that of the Korean cinema before 1946. Simply stated, nothing has survived. This is especially sad, because all accounts point to Arirang (1926, dir., Na Un’gyu) and other films made under the Japanese occupation in the 1930s as representing, perhaps, the world’s first model of clandestinely political cinema. (I understand that the script of Arirang has survived and that a new film has been made based on that script, but without even stills having survived it is impossible to recreate a visual resemblance of the original work.)

Keywords: Japanese occupation; Silent film; lost film; political cinema

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2003

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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