Back to All Events

Alexander Jacoby: Hirokazu Koreeda's Family Values

  • University of Edinburgh David Hume Tower, room LG.11 (map)

Time: December 2nd 5pm

Location: LG. 11, David Hume Tower

Decades ago, Donald Richie declared that the one subject of the Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu was the Japanese family and its dissolution. Hirokazu Koreeda, whose work often invokes Ozu in style and theme, focuses with equal attention on the Japanese family, an institution increasingly challenged in the face of the growing atomisation of modern Japanese society. In Nobody Knows, Koreeda depicts a family on the verge of disintegration, characterised by culpable parental neglect, and focuses on children trying vainly to reconstitute traditional structures. Yet Koreeda's more recent films, including Still Walking, I Wish, Like Father, Like Son and Our Little Sister, frequently suggest that the decline of the traditional family opens up a space for a positive process of re-evaluation. In these films, Koreeda champions unconventional, improvised, voluntary family structures, based not necessarily on biological relations, but premised on mutual affection and mutual need.

Alexander Jacoby lectures on Japanese film, manga and anime, and world cinema at Oxford Brookes University. He is the author of A Critical Handbook of Japanese Film Directors (2008, Stone Bridge Press), as well as various shorter essays on Japanese and world cinema, and is currently working on a monograph on Hirokazu Koreeda for the BFI and Palgrave Macmillan. He has curated or co-curated film programmes in Britain at the BFI and internationally for the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna, and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.