Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Lights! Camera! Study humanity!"

From today's Daily Yomiuri Online:

Renowned film critic Tadao Sato has high hopes for Japan's first university to specialize in making movies--the Japan Academy of Moving Images, which will open in Kawasaki next spring.
Sato, 80, is scheduled to serve as the first president of the university. "I want to make this academy a place where students will discuss movies all day," Sato said.

Sato has served as head of a vocational movie school, the forerunner of the academy, since 1996, having taught there as a lecturer from 1981. 

The school was established by late film director Shohei Imamura, who in 1997 became the first Japanese to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival with his movie "The Eel."

Many movies produced by students as class projects straightforwardly depict the distress of young people and therefore touch people's hearts, according to Sato.

"I thought my job is to encourage young people in their expression of such unexplored feelings," Sato said.

Sato agreed with Imamura's plan to establish a movie university, hoping to equip young people with a wide body of knowledge and teach them more sophisticated ways of filming. 

The plan hit a snag as they faced difficulty in securing a site for the campus.

It was not until 2009, three years after Imamura's death, that they finally got permission to use the site of a defunct primary school in Kawasaki.

"Movies deal with the universe, so [filmmakers] must have a wide range of interests and great sensitivity," Sato said.

With the basic educational concept of "studying humanity," the school will expose students to subjects such as information sociology and folklore.

"I really want ambitious young people to join us," Sato said.

Link: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T101213003123.htm

Japan Academy of Moving Images web site (in Japanese):

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