RSS Film Series

The CJS Free Film Series, offered each summer and fall, features films from Japan shown on the big screen. Almost entirely made up of 16mm and 35mm film prints, the summer series typically features 4-6 films while the fall series generally shows 7-10.

For more information about CJS's film series, both past and present, please email


2013 Fall Film Series

U-M's Natural Sciences Auditorium @ 7:00PM ~ Free Admission ~

     04 Devotion: A Film About Ogawa Productions
       Directed by Barbara Hammer, 2000 (82min, Video)
       + Curator's Talk by Markus Nornes
     11 Forest of Oppression--A Record of the Struggle at Takasaki City University
       Directed by Shinsuke Ogawa, 1967 (105min, 16mm-to-Digital)
     18 The Battle Front for the Liberation of Japan--Summer in Sanrizuka
       Directed by Shinsuke Ogawa, 1968 (108min, 16mm)
     24  ~Noon Lecture~ A Conversation with Ogawa Pro Member Toshio Iizuka
       Special Guest talk with Film Director Toshio Iizuka and Markus Nornes.
       Noon to 1PM in Room 1636, School of Social Work Bldg.
     25 Sanrizuka--Peasants of the Second Fortress
       Directed by Shinsuke Ogawa, 1971 (143min, 16mm)
       + Introduction by Film Director Toshio Iizuka with Q&A session
     01 Sanrizuka--Heta Village
       Directed by Shinsuke Ogawa, 1973 (146min, 16mm)
     08 Dokkoi! Songs from the Bottom
       Directed by Shinsuke Ogawa, 1975 (121min, 16mm)
     15 "Nippon": Furuyashiki Village
       Directed by Shinsuke Ogawa, 1982 (210min, 16mm)
     22 The Magino Village Story: Sundial Carved with a Thousand Years of Notches
       Directed by Shinsuke Ogawa, 1986 (222min, 16mm)
Ogawa Pro

Long overdue, this retrospective devoted to the work of a giant of documentary cinema, Shinsuke Ogawa (1936-92), will re-introduce more than a half dozen of his films to North America. While his films did circulate internationally when they were first released, Ogawa has been unaccountably neglected in the Western world in the decades since. With this series we hope to re-focus attention on his extraordinary, incisive, and deeply committed body of work. Fearlessly devoted to radical politics and to collective production, Ogawa began his career making films about the student movement, before turning his cameras on the increasingly violent conflict between the authorities and farmers who were being threatened with eviction to make way for the construction of the proposed Narita International Airport. Rejecting the notion that a documentary filmmaker must remain a detached observer of the events he or she records, Ogawa and his collaborators (who together formed Ogawa Productions, or “Ogawa Pro”) threw themselves into the (protracted) struggle, producing seven films over the course of almost a decade (including masterpieces such as Peasants of the Second Fortress and Heta Village). After the waning of the Sanrizuka protests, Ogawa and his colleagues soon came to devote themselves to an equally ambitious project, relocating to Yamagata Prefecture and beginning a series of films focusing on the rural village of Magino. Living and working with the farmers they filmed, the collective created an astonishing, unique portrait of a culture and a way of life that are rarely depicted. Remarkable both for his unforgettable films and for his radical approach to documentary cinema, Ogawa has been hugely influential within Japan and Asia, and deserves to be far more widely known in the U.S.

Co-sponsored by: Center for Japanese Studies, Screen Arts & Cultures, the Sheldon Cohn Fund, the Japan Foundation, Athénée Francais Cultural Center, and the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival.

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