enpaku 早稲田大学演劇博物館


4 The Advent of New Queer Cinema and the Rise of the Film Festivals

  In 1992, the film critic B. Ruby Rich defined cinematic practice that resists positive righteous LGBT images, stories, and characters and thoroughly affirms desire in content and form as “New Queer Cinema” (Kanno 2015, 204). New Queer Cinema as the new wave, born in the US at the beginning of the 1990s, was triggered by a group of films depicting the stories and desire of sexual minorities in a style (sometimes excessive) that differed from lesbian and gay cinema of the past. They won a plethora of awards at international film festivals, including the Toronto Festival of Festivals (1991), Sundance (1991), and the New Directors/New Films Festival (1992). For the artists and audience within queer film culture, film festivals continue to fulfill a very significant role, as spaces of expression, market acquisition, and community formation.
  In addition to the group of films that gave rise to the term New Queer Cinema, other queer films made in various countries were imported into Japan, increasing opportunities for the Japanese people to appreciate them. Thus, film culture matured in a variety of ways in the Tokyo metropolitan area in the 1990s. Independent cinemas prospered during the bubble era thanks to corporate funding of consumer arts culture, and continued, after the bubble era, to facilitate the distribution and experimental screening of minor film works; queer films were included in this expanded film culture space (Kanno 2015, 203-5). Queer films that were also the subject of special features in subculture magazines of the 1990s were apparently widely appreciated by young female audiences, and Ikuko Ishihara, one of the most important critics in Japanese queer film criticism, left us a high volume of film criticism that conjures up the experience of appreciating these films at the time.
  The 1990s saw another turning point for Japanese film festival culture. From March 6th to 9th 1992, the first Tokyo International Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival was held in the sixth-floor training room of the Nakano Sunplaza; over the three-day period, an attendance of around 1,000 people was recorded. It has since been held every year at venues such as Kichijoji Baus Theater and Aoyama Spiral Hall. Since 2000, a string of film festivals on queer and LGBT themes have arisen all over Japan, and while due respect is given to those who are, as it were, “stakeholders” because of their sexuality, the festivals are also open to local communities. In this exhibition, we present film pamphlets from the Theatre Museum archive and programs obtained as a result of cooperation with the NPO Rainbow Reel Tokyo.
Reference cited
Yuka Kanno, ‘Kuia/LGTB eigasai shiron – eiga bunka to kuia no keifu (Essay on queer and LGTB film festivals – film culture and the queer lineage)’, Gendaishisou, October 2015 edition, pp.202-209