New Asian Currents Juror
The Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival occupies a special place in my life in film. Between 1993 and 2003, I was able to see an abundant array of documentaries from all over the world as part of the Pre-selection Committee for the International Competition program. From the visual styles, the depicted themes, and the way in which they perceive the realities of the world, the films in this festival are dazzlingly diverse to say the least. By immersing myself in them, I have had the opportunity to grow and learn. In a sense, the festival for me has become a blissful place of learning.
The festival constantly questions the rules and boundaries of the prefabricated notions of what a ‘documentary’ is, rather than being constrained by them. Not only the filmmakers but the audience too is made to pursue this issue. One of the greatest joys of Yamagata is that it provides a stimulating environment for the creators and audience to meet and discuss the significance of the documentary film, and by extension, the moving image itself.
My interest especially lies in the New Asian Currents program, as young filmmakers from countries that are close yet far from each other are given the opportunity to interact. Whether it be a social comment or a personal story, the films’ allure lies in the fact that they are unrestrained pastiches of the social and political realities that they originate from. While I feel great responsibility to be selected as a juror for the New Asian Currents program, my heart is pounding with anticipation and delight as I think about the open-minded, energetic young filmmakers and what they have to offer.
Born in 1947, Murayama Kyoichiro has been fascinated by films since he was young. He spent his youth watching films of all genres, including dramatic films, documentaries and experimental films. He studied film theory as a graduate student at Waseda University, and has since worked as a freelance film critic and film researcher. Currently, he writes reviews for film magazines and newspapers including the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. He also teaches film history and visual theory at universities and professional schools, including Tama Art University, Musashino Art University and the Image Forum Institute of Moving Image. From 1993 to 2003, he served on the Pre-selection Committee for the International Competition program at the YIDFF. His books and translations include The Complete World History of Film, The Story One-Hundred-Year Film: French Film, Loach on Loach, and Critical Words for Film History.