Film Screening of "Ainu: Pathways to Memory" + Introduction and Q&A with Director
3340 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
This event is part of the Issues in Contemporary East Asia series presented by The Center for East Asian Studies.
Film representations of the Ainu people have existed since the inception of cinema, which is the result of the Euro-American fascination for Ainu images since the late 19th century. However, visual representations have not remained stable over time. Outsiders have used photography and cinema to depict Ainu as "other" primitives that have projected ahistorical views of the Ainu, concealing issues of discrimination and social stigmatization as well as their adaptation to modern life and assimilation to the Japanese culture. This projecting of a romanticized image of the Ainu community as disconnected from their social reality has pervaded film representations for decades; however, it started to be challenged in ethnographic documentaries, particularly since the 1970s. In the context of revitalizing the Ainu culture, the documentary Ainu: Pathways to Memory revolves around contemporary concerns on the preservation and dissemination of Ainu culture. The discussion will pose questions regarding the validity of documentary films as ethnographic and social documents.
Directed by Marcos Centeno (2014), this film is 82 minutes long. Of the many awards it has received, some include Best Film for Human Rights at the International Festival of Indigenous Film (FICVI Mexico), Best Film for Interculturality at the Cine Invisible Film Festival (Spain), and Audience Award at the Clam International Film Festival (Barcelona).
Centeno is currently Council on East Asian Studies grant holder at Yale University. He teaches Film, Media, and Japanese Studies at the University of Valencia and is an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, where he has been the Japanese Studies Programme director and coordinates the research seminar "Memorial Sites: Acts of Remembering Through Media and Visual Culture." Before that, Centeno lectured in Film Studies for the Department of Japan and Korea at SOAS, University of London, where he coordinated the MA Global Cinemas and the Transcultural. His main interests revolve around Japanese documentary films, including film theory, transnationalism, and film representation of the Ainu. His most recent projects, "Japanese Documentary Filmmaker Haneda Sumiko" (2021-22) and "Japanese Transnational Cinema" (2018-19), were sponsored by several British and Japanese institutions.