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Shadows on the Screen
Tanizaki Jun’ichirô on Cinema and "Oriental" Aesthetics

by Thomas LaMarre, McGill University
  • Comprehensive review and original analysis of the work of a towering figure of non-Western cinema

  • Tanizaki Jun’ichirô is famous both for his films and for his provocative essays

  • An invaluable historical and conceptual guide to the emergence of cinema and film criticism in Japan

In recent years, the impact of new media and new technologies has renewed interest in the emergence of cinema and film criticism. Yet studies to date have focused almost exclusively on western cinema and problems of western modernity. Shadows on the Screen offers a challenging new reevaluation of these issues. In addition to extensively annotated translations of the long-neglected film work of the celebrated Japanese writer, Tanizaki Jun’ichirô, LaMarre offers a series of commentaries with an original and sustained analysis of how Tanizaki grappled with the temporal paradoxes of non-western modernity in his film work.

Written largely between 1917 and 1926, Tanizaki’s film stories and screenplays continue to delight and disturb readers with their exploration of the racial and sexual perversion implicit in the newly cinematized modern world. Read in conjunction with his film work, Tanizaki’s ‘Orientalist’ essays betray their cinematic sources, revealing the profound links between traditionalism and cinematic modernism, between national identity and colonial ambivalence. Through the translation and analysis of Tanizaki’s film work, Shadows on the Screen provides an invaluable historical and conceptual guide both to the emergence of cinema and film criticism in Japan and to the problem of Japanese modernity.

Published by Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Michigan Monograph Series in Japanese Studies No. 53
Publ. 2005, 422 pp.
ISBN 1 929280 32 7, hardback, £45.00
ISBN 1 929280 33 5, paperback, £14.99