Japanese Cinema Blogathon 2009 – Day4

June 19, 2009 — 13 Comments

I’ve hated #4 this past weeks. That number is an unlucky number…

Anyway, this is my 4th contribution to the Japanese Cinema Blogathon, if you haven’t been reading… which I hope you have had~~~ because that’s the whole point of this blogathon, right? To promote J-Films…

Which brings me to today’s topic.

First, Your Friends~ Then the World!

How to Make People Watch Japanese Cinema

It’s all about compromise. God knows I’ve tried so hard to get my friends interested in it, because sometimes it can get boring talking to people about it just online… *sighs* I’m sure I come off as pushy, etc~ and many of them won’t budge. I even offer them films to watch for free… they only need to come over, and that’s that.

Last year I had a Foreign Film gathering (they chose the foreign theme, anyway), two of the nine films scheduled that day were Tetsuya Nakashima’s Memories of Matsuko – mainly because I’m crazy about that film, and I had just watched it a few weeks prior – and Shunji Iwai’s Hana & Alice, because Iwai-san and Yu Aoi is lurv. Sadly, no one came on time to watch Matsuko (only one friend arrived… halfway through the film), and I highly doubt they made any connection with Hana & Alice.

Needless to say, I’m setting up another film gathering, though I haven’t made them choose themes yet. I have a few lists I’ve made and they contain a couple of Japanese films. Let’s hope one of them stays this year! *crosses fingers*

Anyway… you don’t want to come off as pushy – and like I said above… it’s all about compromise.

  • You have a friend who wants to make you watch something of his own?? Maybe he wants to get you into Lost, Heroes… or Battlestar Gallactica? Give in, tell him you will watch a season (or maybe a few episodes, depending on your willingness to compromise) in exchange he should watch a film or two.

This will make your friend feel like you are not pushing him to watch something, instead you’re just exchanging interests… and who knows, you might end up enjoying both those hobbies.

  • When you blog about it, mix things up a little. We blog about Japanese Cinema, but in the end people who already like Japanese Cinema read your posts.

The point of this blogathon is to promote Japanese Cinema, but we are the ones dealing and discussing. I mentioned this blogathon to a friend, and she had no idea why she should care. *doh!* – combine the idols with your favorite Japanese Directors, and get them at least skimming through your posts. Make a western comparison… got something to write about vampire films? psych ward films? I mean Clive Owen has said that he wants to work with Wong Kar Wai and Ang Lee again… that means some teenage Owen fans would be at least be interested in checking out some more work by both directors.

How about a crazy collaboration between Johnny Depp and Tetsuya Nakashima? Or Juliette Binoche and Shunji Iwai?

  • Make a fuzz about collaborations. No matter how good or bad you may think they are.

I made a fuzz about Tokyo! – I kind of really worship Michel Gondry’s visual style… then there was Ryo Kase, and Yu Aoi. – I’ve also been making a fuzz over New York, I Love You because it’s got Shunji Iwai’s short with Orlando Bloom. Now, I don’t like Orlando Bloom (I’ve only ever liked him as Legolas LOL), but if there are people who enjoy the short… there is a small chance that a teenage Bloom fan might check out Iwai’s past work.

  • Introduced them with what they like.

My dad likes comedies… and action films, but well~ he also happens to like Asian culture, LOL’ so maybe I’m being a little unfair here. Anyway, I’ve made him watch films like Linda Linda Linda, Matsuko, Swing Girls, Tekkon, Kamikaze Girls… then one day he brought me Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams. *laughs* I was surprised myself, but my dad had a newly-found interest in Japanese films (mostly the epic kind though… xD)

and to just not have FOUR bullet points here…

  • … just keep pushing~

Keep bugging people. Someone will need to budge, right? LOL

13 responses to Japanese Cinema Blogathon 2009 – Day4

  1. In the same vein, it reminds me of this post

  2. Maybe you could try to tempt your friends in with a light-hearted comedy, an action film, or some classic Ghibli animation first. Memories of Matsuko is pretty heavy stuff. My husband, who loves Japan, found it difficult to watch & Chris MaGee at Toronto Jfilm Powwow took a deep dislike to it (there’s a link to Chris’s review in my review from last Oct) I think it’s a love-it-or-hate-it-and-not-much-inbetween kind of a film. Dreams was my first Kurosawa film. If your Dad really liked it, you should show him Kurosawa’s Ikiru or Ozu’s Tokyo Story.
    p.s. I second Michael’s suggestion

  3. haha
    Knowledge corrupts – Matsuko is my precious~~~
    comedies are tricky… even with films like Swing Girls – you would think that’s an easy movie to watch, but I’ve seen people who found the characters annoying and made me stop the film. And I often find people telling me “the Japanese are weird”…

    *sighs* and sadly… most of my friends think animated films are just cartoons. I’ve shown them Totoro to a couple of them, but I dunno… there’s just a disconnect.

    Does any of you know of any really good or quite good (I’m not picky) not-so-long (under 2hrs) romantic comedies?

  4. Now, I try not to talk about Japanese Films but just Films. I think it’s a better way to promote them.

    You know, it’s not a good “japanese romantic comedy” but just a good romantic comedy. People tend to focus too much on the “Japanese” part, but it’s not what really matters. When a film is good, I don’t even realize if it comes from another country or not. It’s just good.

  5. I tend to agree, but it’s hard to overlook jokes that are culturally-relevant to the audience. Especially in comedy… comedy is always tricky.

    I watched a film called “Maldeamores” which I think was translated to Lovesick. A Puerto Rican exuberant dramedy showing the lives of different couples. I found it quite funny, but some people didn’t get it. Moreover, I also read some opinions saying people felt some of the jokes didn’t translate well.

    So there’s also that whole “lost in translation” thing.

    But I agree, films are films. that’s why I didn’t ask for a “Japanese romantic comedy” – just a good romantic comedy that is not too long. xD

  6. My usual strategy in recommending classic/foreign/off-the-beaten-path cinemas is to tailor the recommendation to the person. My friend has young children? I recommend Miyzaki films. Of my grandparents’ generation? Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald. Likes serious historical dramas? Twilight Samurai. Romantic comedies/dramas? Shall We Dance? Adventure stories? The Hidden Fortress.

    I recently had good success that way with The Hidden Fortress. I made it the ‘movie of the month’ pick for the film club I belong to because I wanted to show a Japanese film as part of a ‘great directors/great movies’ series I’m moderating, but also wanted to choose something that would be accessible to people who have never seen a Japanese movie and know very little about the culture. Everyone enjoyed it and several people even asked for recommendations of other Kurosawa films – and then watched them!

  7. Film club!
    How about movie people? Those who would choose watching Sex in the City on the opening week, instead of a the foreign film that’s only going to be showing that week?

    I have to admit, I have had more luck people liking Jdramas over films. Like I say, I’ve had a hard time looking for romantic comedies, mainly because I’m not a very romantic comedy person… – or romance dramas in which the guy mostly gets the girl… or it makes you believe he will get the girl LOL (like Cinema Paradiso) – They loved that one.

    In the end… I always compromise, and watch shows or films they want me to watch in exchange, ha!

  8. Well, if you’re dealing with people who have no previous connection whatsoever to Japan or international films, it’s certainly tough to get them interested in Japanese films. Starting off with someone who shows an interest in more exotic films could be first step. Also, I talk about japanese films a lot with friends and colleagues, and I get most of my DVDs shipped to my company’s address and show them around there. My general impression is that anime work quite well, possibly because it’s a popular genre almost everyone has already heard about.

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