Double Shadows—Talking about Films that Talk about Films

For the Incomplete History of Cinema

To talk about film history, or about the numerous strains of film history, is to choose from a vast array of possibilities in order to convey—if only subjectively and incompletely—a certain potential. It doesn’t mean presenting an overview of films that have taken the most prestigious prizes, or taking note of those that have been commercially successful. It can only be about daring to privilege an instant: the instant of the encounter, when the films in their orbits cross paths with one another and with us. In these instants, a film can speak directly of film itself.

And yet the films that talk about films are not only for connoisseurs of the silver screen. It’s plain that places where we can discuss films that we’ve just seen are disappearing from our lives, even if we don’t mention the “vanishing cinephile” or the “death of film.” This program, held some 120 years since the advent of cinema, will highlight works whose theme or subject is the history of film, or film itself.

The film and its shadow—where they overlap might lead you on a journey to find yourself. The home movies taken by our family members are films we have watched since childhood, transmitting to us the images of a certain time and history. However, these experiments not only constitute personal memory, but simultaneously inscribe us into time. The past stops being the past, disrupting the distance between film and audience. By pursuing the flow of a vast amount of private images, our homeland may be revived; making connections among the footage may breathe new life into our existence.

Indeed Manoel de Oliveira compared film to a home, or a ship setting sail upon a vast ocean, or to life itself. Perhaps through the overlapping of multiple images, a new perspective on things that have been marginalized and forgotten will begin to emerge. Re-found fragments of film reveal unforeseen connections and illuminate a place beyond the scope of our creativity. Footage becomes the fount of fancy. The screenings, symposium, and exhibit in this program will offer an opportunity for us to transcend any exclusionary tendencies we may have regarding films that talk about films, and truly explore the role of cinematic memory today.

Tsuchida Tamaki
Program Coordinator