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Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's 2008 film, Still Walking, received widespread acclaim in both Asia and the West, taking home awards in Hong Kong, Argentina, and Belgium. English speaking critics have likened the film to the "Japanese Golden Age" work of Yasujirō Ozu, which was itself inspired by classical Hollywood cinema from the early silent era on. Because Kore-eda weaves Eastern and Western influences so seamlessly into his pictures, it comes as no surprise that Still Walking was welcomed by a receptive global audience upon release. But this universal, or near-universal, receptivity poses a question: what, if anything, does Still Walking do to signal Japanese cultural specificity to non-Japanese audiences? It is not enough to say that its spoken language and shoot locations “Easternize” the film. Cross-cultural overlap--in such areas as cinematography, editing, and narrative structuring--has permanently blurred the lines dividing Eastern and Western filmmaking. Yet critics who trace throughlines from Still Walking to the work of Ozu imply that the former retains an essentially Japanese character in spite of the globalization of cinema. My research on the subject seeks to answer why that is. In particular, I look at Kore-eda’s representations of food, family, and their interrelation in order to tease out and scrutinize the film’s cultural, and perhaps acultural, idiosyncrasies. I involve and reference several other visual and literary texts in the course of my analysis, including James Joyce’s “The Dead” and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather.


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19 Jul 2022
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  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 2211

  • Event date
    • 2 November 2019

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022