PRINT February 2013


Toshio Matsumoto, Funeral Parade of Roses, 1969, 35 mm, black-and-white, sound, 107 minutes.

JAPANESE CINEMA became international at the moment it became national: the two formations bound together in the same instant. Two modes of visibility folded into each other in ways that made them as inseparable as they were ostensibly discrete. In the 1950s, film culture expanded globally, following waves of revolution and decolonization and the founding of new national entities. Paradoxically, it was this internationalization of cinema that made certain cinemas national, visible through the prism of nationalism.

The terms for a specific national cinema were usually established from without, typically by panels at international film festivals and similar bodies that evaluated films far from where they were produced.¹ What made a cinema national in the eyes of international observers? In an increasingly postnational present, the features that defined the national cinemas of the ’

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