Japan in Paris in L.A.
Bruce and Norman Yonemoto
1996, 30 min, color, sound
Japan in Paris in L.A. centers on Saeki Yuzo, an early twentieth-century Japanese artist who makes a pilgrimage to Paris to seek his artistic fortunes, only to find that ethnic and cultural differences stand in his way. Around this narrative, the Yonemotos construct a multi-layered and self-reflexive work, in which strategies of disjunction and contradiction are central. Highly theatrical in its mise en scene, the piece nevertheless makes constant play with the mechanics and trappings of cinematic convention, and employs explicitly experimental strategies, such as a disembodied voice that intones script directions. Shot in both color and black and white film stocks, and intercutting archival footage of turn-of-the-century Paris, artistic locus of its time, with scenes set in mid-century Los Angeles, the twentieth century's Dream Factory, Japan in Paris in L.A. is a complex meditation on issues of Modernity, representation, ethnocentrism, and identity.
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