SOCIETY AND CINEMA: Old and New Genres in Japanese Cinema
by Donald Richie
Considered a guru on Japanese cinema, film critic and writer Donald Richie, observes that anyone attempting to write a history of Japanese cinema is at a disadvantage. Except for a few titles, there is little fully extant from the period 1897-1917 and only somewhat more from 1918-1945. The Indifference of the industry has meant the destruction of ninety percent of Japanese films made before 1945. The postwar Japanese audience was never enthusiastic about mimesis, resulting in filmmakers (barring directors like Akira Kurosawa) providing a feast of the fantastical in recent years. Extracted from his book, A hundred Years of Japanese Film, this is a brief insight into films that have documented social issues and the current trends in Japanese cinema.