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          Films  By  and  About  Women  –  analyzing  the  work   of  Kim  Longinotto   Hiu  Tung  Karen  Law   Tutor:  Clare  Johnson  (Group  Number:  1)   Dissertation  submitted  for  the  Degree:  BA  (Hons)  in  Filmmaking  and  Creative   Media   Module  title  and  module  number:  Visual  Culture  Level  3  Dissertation  (UA1ABN-­‐ 20-­‐3)   Faculty  of  Arts,  Creative  Industries  and  Education   University  of  the  West  of  England  (Bristol)   Date  of  submission:  15  January  2013                      

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Contents   Introduction      

p.4

History of  Feminism    

p.5

p.8

p.11

Documentaries I  am  going  to  discuss  in  this  dissertation    

p.12

p.16

Gender inequality/  homosexuality/  masculinity  as  masquerade    

p.25

p.33

  Who  is  Kim  Longinotto?       Observational  Documentaries         What  images  and  situations  of  women  are  shown  in  the  two  films?   Strong  Women  Image    

Conclusion      

                             

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List of  Illustrations     Promotional  image  of  Kim  Longinotto    

p.8

Promotional image  of  Shinjuku  Boys    

p.13

Gaish (33:58),  Tatsu  (24:44,  33:47)  in  the  nightclub  (Shinjuku  Boys)      

p.14

Gaish (35:44)  (Shinkuju  Boys)    

p.15

Promotional image  of  Gaea  Girls      

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Nagoyo Chigusa  (1:10)  (Gaea  Girls)    

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Satomura Meiko  (1:25)(Gaea  Girls)    

p.16

Takeuchi Saika  (1:50)  (Gaea  Girls)      

p.16

Figures 1  and  2  –  Japanese  school  girls    

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Figures 3  and  4  –  Japanese  street  fashion      

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Figure 5  –  Lolita  style    

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Nagayo giving  training  (3:51)  (Gaea  Girls)    

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Nagayo in  a  bout  (15:30)  (Gaea  Girls)    

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Takeuchi being  scolded  by  Nagayo  (1:23:36)  (Gaea  Girls)    

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Takeuchi’s mother  (1:34:19)  (Gaea  Girls)      

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Takeuchi at  the  end  (1:38:27)  (Gaea  Girls)    

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Gaish (0:26)(Shinkuju  Boys)    

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Gaish walking  on  the  street  (51:48)(Shinkuju  Boys)    

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Gaish in  the  nightclub  (33:37)(Shinkuju  Boys)    

p.27

Tatsu (1:34)(Shinkuju  Boys)    

p.27

Tatsu and  his  girlfriend  (20:25)(Shinkuju  Boys)      

p.28

Left: Tatsu  in  the  interview  (22:08)(Shinkuju  Boys)    

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Right: Tatsu  in  the  interview  (22:13)(Shinkuju  Boys)    

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Kazuki (0:54)(Shinkuju  Boys)    

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Kazuki and  Kumi  in  the  interview  (29:47)(Shinkuju  Boys)    

p.31

Kumi in  the  interview  (30:41)(Shinkuju  Boys)    

p.31

p.32

Kazuki and  his  work  colleagues  (51:58)(Shinkuju  Boys)      

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Screen shot  in  the  film  Wrestler    

One girl  in  new  recruitment  (1:00:00)  (Gaea  Girls)    

Gaish in  the  interview  (13:12)(Shinkuju  Boys)    

Kumi in  a  nightclub  (27:32)(Shinkuju  Boys)    

Kazuki talking  to  his  mother  (48:49)(Shinkuju  Boys)    

 

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Introduction   I  am  a  media  student,  which  is  why  I  am  particularly  interested  in  women   filmmakers.  I  would  like  to  investigate  more  on  how  they  make  films.  I  chose   documentary  genre  because  I  always  think  women  filmmakers  are  likely  to  make   films  with  provocative  and  controversial  topics  or  issues  within  the  society  we   are  living  in.  Their  budgets  and  cinematography  may  not  be  as  high  quality  as   Hollywood-­‐made  commercial  films,  but  their  thoughts  and  the  matters  they  are   showing  in  the  film  could  be  serious  and  they  should  be  paid  more  attention  to.     In  this  dissertation,  I  am  going  to  do  a  case  study  on  Kim  Longinotto.  I  will   analyze  two  of  her  films,  which  reveal  messages  on  feminism,  the  situation  of   women  in  society  and  the  plight  of  female  victims  of  oppression  or   discrimination.  This  dissertation  also  includes  Longinotto’s  ideas  and  thoughts   concerning  the  directing  and  editing  of  the  films  and  second-­‐wave  feminism  in   United  Kingdom  during  the  1970s.     Why  do  I  choose  Kim  Longinotto  for  a  case  study?  One  of  the  things  that  arouses   my  interest  most  is  she  made  quite  a  lot  of  documentaries  in  foreign  countries.     She  made:     •

5 films  in  Japan  -­‐  Eat  the  Kimono  (1978),  The  Good  Wife  of  Tokyo  (1992),   Dream  Girls  (1993),  Shinjuku  Boys  (1995)  and  Gaea  Girls  (2000)    

1 in  Egypt  -­‐  Hidden  Faces  (1990)  

2 in  Iran  -­‐  Divorce  Iranian  Style  (1998)  and  Runaway  (2001)  

3 in  Africa  -­‐  The  Day  I  Will  Never  Forget  (2002),  Sisters-­in-­Law  (2005)  and   Rough  Aunties  (2008)  

1 in  India  -­‐  Pink  Saris  (2010)  

I  am  really  impressed  by  her  filmography,  especially  as  all  the  films  are  all  filmed   outside  England  and  all  about  women.  The  films  cover  a  wide  range  of  areas  and   issues  about  women,  like  feminism,  femininity,  fighting  for  rights,  inequality,   gender  and  culture.  Longinotto  often  works  with  ‘co-­‐directors’.  In  fact,  they  are  

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the people  who  can  speak  the  language  when  Longinotto  is  filming  abroad.  It  is   interesting  to  see  how  she  was  able  to  get  the  films  produced  in  other  languages.     I  am  from  Hong  Kong  and  I  made  one  documentary  when  I  was  studying  for  my   higher  diploma  on  multimedia  design.  It  is  about  the  development  of  Hong   Kong’s  A  Cappella  groups.  They  shared  their  own  personal  experience  and   thoughts  on  the  singing  industry  in  Hong  Kong.  It  was  not  easy  to  produce  and   direct  a  documentary  on  my  own,  especially  as  I  had  to  follow  them  going  to   different  places  for  performances  and  fit  in  the  time  for  interviews.  There  were   altogether  six  groups  of  people.  It  was  the  main  challenge  for  me  in  the  project.   But  at  least  I  did  not  have  any  language  barriers  with  the  people  I  was  filming.   One  of  the  most  important  things  about  making  documentaries  is  building  and   maintaining  good  relationships  with  the  characters  in  the  film,  so  they  could   trust  you  and  tell  you  more  about  themselves.       Longinotto  does  not  only  have  to  deal  with  the  language  barriers  with  the   characters  in  her  film,  but  she  also  has  to  convey  her  ideas  and  messages  through   her  translator  to  her  protagonists.  Even  though  I  did  not  have  problems   communicating  with  my  characters,  explaining  what  I  would  like  them  to  do  and   trying  to  direct  them  were  not  easy.  Also,  she  often  makes  films  in  other   countries,  quite  a  lot  of  things  need  to  be  done  for  overseas  film  production,  like   people,  equipment,  transportation,  passes,  visas…etc.  Her  work  is  really   impressive.  Another  thing  is  she  is  a  female  director,  so  I  feel  her  work  is  more   related  to  me.  As  far  as  I  know,  though  there  are  more  women  in  the  film   industry  nowadays,  it  is  still  male  dominant,  especially  those  who  are  directors.     History  of  feminism     Walters  (2005)  writes  a  general  description  on  feminism.  In  early  19th  century,   the  idea  of  feminism  became  widely  spread  and  there  were  clearer  statements   on  women’s  claims.  A  married  woman  called  Marion  Reid  published  a  book   called  A  Plea  for  Women  in  1843.  Reid  (1843)  brought  up  some  issues  of   inequality.  One  is  the  education  of  girls.  The  girls  were  in  no  position  to  have  any  

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thoughts of  trying  to  be  independent  or  strong,  and  they  were  barely  trained  by   governesses  or  inadequate  schools.  Another  point  is  doing  housework.  Reid  said   domestic  work  was  the  main  part  of  a  woman’s  life  at  that  time.  But  she   questioned  why  woman  had  to  be  restricted  to  domesticity.  She  asked,  ‘if   woman’s  rights  are  not  the  same  as  those  of  man,  what  are  they?’  She  also  said,   ‘woman  was  made  for  man,  yet  in  another  and  higher  she  was  also  made  for   herself’.  Basically,  I  think  the  vast  majority  of  women  during  that  time  were  not   in  the  centre  of  the  society,  they  were  helping  their  husbands  and  always  being   so  passive  and  accepting  of  prevailing  thought.       Walters  (2005)  later  describes  what  happened  in  the  late  19th  and  early  20th   century.  There  were  more  campaigns  organized  by  women.  Their  voices  were   more  obvious.  They  asked  for  better  education,  the  possibility  of  working  outside   the  home,  a  change  in  the  laws  on  marriage  and  they  had  to  fight  for  the  right  to   vote.  Thanks  to  the  First  World  War,  it  had  allowed  women  to  have  opportunities   to  work.  They  worked  in  hospitals,  munitions  factories  and  engineering  works,   but  still  they  did  not  have  equal  wages  with  men.  Then  in  the  late  20th  century,   which  I  believe  was  the  most  important  era  to  help  women  to  be  as  equal  as  men   –  the  second-­‐wave  feminism.       To  me,  it  is  hard  to  define  exactly  what  feminism  is.  Skeggs  (1997:140)  quoted   Alcoff  (1988)’s  argument.  She  says  feminists  often  pretend  to  know  what  women   are.  Besides,  Ramazanoglu  (1989)  argues  that  theory  that  explains  women’s  lives   is  different  from  the  actual  experience  of  living  women’s  lives.  Somehow  it  is   true,  simply  because  every  woman  has  her  own  image  and  identity.  It  seems   feminism  becomes  a  tool  to  help  women  to  achieve  the  rights  they  should  have   had.  I  watched  some  clips  on  BBC  Archives  Feminist  Collection.  They  are  the   television  programmes  featuring  discussions  and  arguments  about  women.  From   there  I  see  feminism  started  becoming  more  political  as  it  had  a  clear  agenda  and   aim,  which  included:  equal  pay  for  equal  jobs;  equal  educational  provision;  free   24-­‐hour  nurseries;  free  contraception;  abortion  on  demand;  a  woman’s  right  to   be  herself,  not  controlled  by  men.  From  the  clips,  I  am  wondering  if  there  are  too   many  distinctions  made  between  economic  groups.  Or  is  there  too  much  concern  

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with the  complicated  social  and  economic  realities,  while  is  not  actually   representing  all  women?       I  watched  the  documentary  series  (three  episodes)  Women  (2010)  on  BBC  Four.   I  remember  the  third  one  most,  which  is  about  activists  from  London  Feminist   Network,  who  are  working  hard  on  equality  between  men  and  women  and  they   reveal  there  are  issues  that  still  infringe  women’s  rights  like  domestic  violence,   pornography  and  prostitution.  Though  in  the  last  paragraph  people  argue  the   feminists  assumes  they  know  women  well  and  I  was  wondering  if  feminism  is   too  much  about  politics,  but  I  think  they  did  not  do  anything  wrong.       Not  all  women  are  activists  on  feminism,  but  I  do  not  think  they  would  disagree   or  try  to  stop  what  activists  are  doing.  Maybe  it  was  more  about  economic  status   in  the  1970s,  but  now  it  is  more  about  society.  That  is  why  even  though  I  am  not   a  feminist,  I  am  not  strong  and  I  am  not  really  passionate  about  politics,  I  could   not  disagree  with  them,  as  the  social  issues  they  highlight  are  really  happening.   Their  own  personal  experiences  are  realistic  and  their  theories  of  fighting  have   become  more  practical.  Walters  (2005)  cited  the  explanations  on  feminism  from   United  Nations’  international  conferences  on  women’s  issues  between  1975  and   1985,  which  I  think  is  more  neutral  to  define  what  feminism  is,  (pp.97)     …there  is  and  must  be  a  diversity  of  feminisms,  responsive  to  the  different  needs  and  concerns  of   different  women,  and  defined  by  them  for  themselves.  

What  does  feminism  mean  to  me?  I  do  think  feminism  is  about  strong  women.  It   includes  the  sense  of  resistance  to  abuse,  being  independent  and  being   outstanding.  It  enhances  the  idea  of  self-­‐worth.  Of  course  not  all  feminists  are   strong  women  and  not  all  strong  women  admit  themselves  as  feminists.  But   feminism  is  a  recognition  of  difference.  Women  try  hard  to  achieve  equality.   Women  want  to  have  more  control  of  their  lives.  It  is  true  that  feminism  is   somehow  related  politics.  In  the  second-­‐wave  feminism,  women  want  to  have   equal  privileges  to  men.      

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I am  going  to  focus  on  two  documentaries,  Shinjuku  Boys  (1995)  and  Gaea  Girls   (2000).  They  were  both  filmed  in  Japan  and  they  discuss  social  issues  concerning   women  in  Japanese  society.  The  two  films  relate  to  lesbianism,  the  performance   of  masculinity,  image  and  identity.     Who  is  Kim  Longinotto?     ‘I’m  interested  in  underdogs.’  –  Kim  Longinotto  (in  Mubi  Europe)    

Promotional  image  of  Kim  Longinotto,  Women  Makes  Movies  

Kim  Longinotto  (born  1952)  is  a  British  independent  filmmaker,  who  is  well   known  for  making  observational  documentaries.  From  the  films  she  made,  it  is   not  hard  to  notice  that  she  is  interested  in  change.  She  likes  to  explore  the  lives   of  women  living  on  the  fringes  of  society  and  has  made  a  series  of  similar  wide-­‐ ranging  documentary  pieces.  She  is  looking  for  something  cheerful  and  hopeful   when  following  stories  and  in  all  different  kinds  of  situations.  She  follows  people   living  their  lives,  is  sensitive  to  their  emotions,  and  is  always  prepared  to  let  the   film  go  to  the  story.  In  the  interview  ‘I  wept  as  we  filmed  them  fight’,  Longinotto   describes  a  bit  of  her  style  on  filmmaking:      

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‘I like  to  go  in  and  not  disrupt  anything  at  all.  The  crew  does  not  talk  to  each  other,  you  don't   make  any  noise,  you're  very  passive.  You  don't  ever  tell  anyone  to  do  anything,  not  even  to  walk   into  the  room  again  if  you  missed  it.’  

From  her  words,  her  style  should  be  like  ‘Direct  Cinema’  that  originated  from   North  America.  Direct  Cinema  is  about  having  little  or  no  involvement  in  the   shooting.  It  tries  to  make  the  camera  become  ‘invisible’  in  front  of  the  characters   (Glynne,  2008).     Women’s  issues  run  through  all  Longinotto’s  films.  She  mentions  in  the  interview   with  Saunders,  R.  (2010)  that  most  films  have  men  in  the  centre.  She  wants  to   bring  women  in  to  focus.  Because  of  the  ‘theory’  of  the  cinema  ‘Women  as  Image,   Man  as  Bearer  of  the  Look’,  and  the  state  of  the  world’s  sexual  imbalance,  the   ‘active/male’  and  ‘passive/female’  has  become  the  pleasure  in  looking  on  screen   (Mulvey,  1975).  Everything  that  follows  is  styled  accordingly.  Mulvey  also  said   traditional  women  on  screen  have  two  functions,  which  are  as  erotic  objects  for   the  characters  in  the  story  and  for  the  audiences.  The  male  protagonists  often   control  the  film  fantasy  and  have  the  power  to  move  the  storyline  forward.  Their   characteristics  are  molded  to  match  what  the  spectators  want,  more  perfect,   more  complete  and  more  powerful.  So  women  become  ‘leaves’  and  men  are   ‘flowers’  on  the  screen.       Many  people  have  said  that  in  many  circumstances  being  a  man  can  make  access   to  women  is  difficult.  You  have  to  be  a  woman  in  order  to  study  women.  There  is   a  bit  of  truth  in  that.  The  female  protagonists  would  feel  more  comfortable  if  they   have  to  say  or  do  things  that  would  be  quite  embarrassing  if  men  are  there,  like   taking  make-­‐up  off,  talking  about  sexual  relationships  with  partners  (in  Shinjuku   Boys)  or  being  seen  punished  by  the  mentor  and  hit  by  other  senior  wrestlers  (in   Gaea  Girls).  Women  filmmakers  always  seem  closer  to  women  characters  in  their   films  and  they  could  get  more  access  to  their  world.  This  helps  to  enhance  the   depth  of  the  issues  they  are  discussing  and  to  reveal  more  facts.  In  Smaill’s   interview  (2007),  Longinotto  described  how  she  deals  with  filming  in  other  

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cultures, but  at  the  same  time,  being  a  woman  is  an  advantage  in  getting  more   access  to  the  characters  and  building  up  better  relationships  with  them,     …I'm  thinking  very  much  as  if  I  am  filming  for  a  friend.  I  think  of  the  people  who  are  going  see  the   film  as  friends…and  thinking  in  terms  of  us  all  having  similar  kinds  of  problems…I'm  trying  to   make  the  audience  feel  that  they're  there  where  I  am;  they  see  the  same  things  that  I'm  seeing.  

I  do  not  think  Longinotto  is  a  feminist.  She  just  wants  to  make  women  the  main   protagonists  and  to  enable  a  female  gaze  in  the  cinema.  It  does  not  matter  if  she   is  a  feminist.  I  think  female  directors,  especially  those  who  were  in  the  second-­‐ wave  feminism  of  the  1970s,  would  have  more  political  awareness  and  thoughts   about  the  society  they  are  living  in  when  they  are  making  films.  I  believe   feminism  affects  Longinotto  to  a  certain  degree,  at  least  in  constructing  the   storyline  of  the  women  in  her  films  and  how  she  would  present  the  image  of   women  on  screen.  And  these  political  movements  could  actually  add  new  and   different  energy  to  the  cinema  at  that  time,  especially  independent  filmmaking,   as  it  would  affect  female  filmmakers’  direction  and  approach  to  film  topics.  They   would  be  more  opposed  to  the  retreat  into  violence,  and  sympathetic  to  the   revival  of  undiscovered  things  becoming  more  popular  in  the  cinema.       Longinotto  said  in  Cochrane  (2010)’s  interview  that  she  made  her  first   documentary  when  she  was  studying  in  National  Film  and  Television  School.  The   film  criticized  the  girls  boarding  school  where  she  studied  before.  The  school   was  compared  to  a  miniature  state  with  strange  rules,  indigestible  food  and   ridiculous  and  unfair  punishments.  Her  film  actually  led  to  the  school’s  closure.   Her  former  headmistress  even  called  her  a  ‘betrayer’.  But  Longinotto  revealed   the  truth,  criticized  and  defended  women’s  rights.  It  was  the  beginning  of   building  up  her  ‘female  gaze’  and  following  the  path  of  independent  filmmaking.   In  the  1970s,  during  the  time  she  was  a  filmmaking  student  and  make  her  first   documentary,  the  second-­‐wave  feminism  in  London  began.  It  was  the  time  she   was  learning  and  developing  what  she  wanted  to  be  and  to  do.    

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At the  moment,  Longinotto  has  made  most  documentaries  in  Japan.  She  talked   about  her  influences  in  Lacey’s  interview  (2010),       …I  remember  seeing  a  Kurosawa  film  in  which  the  women  were  sitting  quietly  in  the  background.   They  would  kneel  down  and  touch  their  fingertips  together  when  they  saw  the  samurai.  She  was   this  extraordinary  woman,  who  emerged  from  the  lowest  of  the  low  socially…had  this  brave,   revolutionary  perspective.  

Observational  Documentaries     Bernard  (2011)  has  a  short  description  in  her  book  on  what  documentary  is   (pp.1),     Documentaries  bring  viewers  into  new  models  and  experiences  though  the  presentation  of   factual  information  about  real  people,  places,  and  events…portrayed  through  the  use  of  actual   images  and  artifacts.  

Basically,  there  are  four  functions  of  documentaries:  democratic  civics;   journalistic  enquiry;  independent,  personal  and  experiential;  fast-­‐moving   coverage  of  incidents  or  situations  (Saunders,  2010:26).    They  are  ‘the  creative   treatment  of  actuality’  (Glynne,  2008:24).  They  portray  what  life  is  like.  Of   course  there  are  controversies  in  documentaries,  it  is  a  tool  of  social  awareness.   They  have  the  potential  power  to  move  and  stir  people  and  give  them  some   motivation  to  get  to  know  more  about  their  society.     It  is  interesting  that  Bernard  (2011)  says  that  not  all  actual  affairs  and  images   may  be  used  in  documentary.  So  does  it  mean  some  documentaries  are  ‘fake’?   Documentaries  adhere  to  express  the  truths  of  a  situation.  But  at  the  same  time,   directors  and  editors  are  working  on  the  creative  treatment,  on  how  they   arrange  the  content,  by  what  they  ask  the  characters  and  what  they  film,  shaping   the  story  to  make  it  more  impressive  and  compelling.  So  there  must  be  a   ‘construction’  of  the  storyline.  The  ‘obligation’  of  documentaries  is  to  decide   ‘where  to  draw  the  line  and  how  to  remain  consistent  to  the  contract  you  will  set   up  with  your  audience’  (Aufderheide,  2007:3).  Particularly  in  observational  

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documentaries, which  often  have  minimal  interference  by  the  filmmakers  with   the  subjects,  it  is  important  to  keep  it  realistic.  But  the  truth  is  there  is  much   footage  and  lots  of  it  is  cut  down  during  the  editing  process,  so  there  are  doubts   sometimes  on  whether  observational  documentaries  are  more  ‘objective’  or   ‘truthful’  than  other  types  of  documentaries  (Saunders,  2010:27).       Why  do  I  make  documentaries?  I  like  discovering  things  and  looking  into  deeper   issues  within  society,  things  we  may  not  be  aware  of  or  care  about.  My  final   project  is  about  a  toilet  map  in  Bedminster,  Bristol.  The  main  protagonist  Ben   hopes  the  map  could  help  and  encourage  older  people  to  go  out  on  their  own  and   to  not  just  stay  at  home.  Older  people  tend  to  need  toilets  when  they  are   outdoors,  because  of  their  age  and  they  would  have  more  physical  needs.  I  am   still  young  and  I  do  not  really  notice  this  problem.  When  I  think  more  deeply,   actually  it  is  not  just  about  public  toilets,  but  also  about  ageing  and  urban   planning  within  a  city  or  country.  We  are  getting  older  everyday.  It  is  time  to   think  about  how  we  treat  older  people  and  things  that  we  do  not  really  pay   attention  to  –  public  toilets.  The  idea  sounds  funny  but  there  are  serious  issues   behind.  It  is  the  same  as  Longinotto,  she  makes  films  about  women  because  she   is  interested  in  women’s  stories  and  looking  into  the  hidden  world.  Her  films  do   give  more  thoughts  and  ideas  to  the  audiences  of  what  is  happening  in  the  world   we  are  living  in.                          

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Documentaries I  am  going  to  discuss  in  this  dissertation     Shinjuku  Boys,  1995  

Promotional  image  of  Shinjuku  Boys,  Women  Makes  Movies   From  left  to  right:  Kazuki,  Tatsu  and  Gaish.  

This  film  introduces  and  follows  three  onnabes  (Gaish,  Tatsu  and  Kazuki),  which   mean  women  who  live  as  men  and  have  girlfriends.     Outcasts  from  mainstream  society,  they  work  in  a  nightclub  (New  Marilyn  Club)   in  Tokyo.  They  serve  female  customers  who  are  looking  for  escape  from  their   daily  lives  of  arrogant  husbands  and  bosses.  Shaping  themselves  as  perfect   boyfriends,  the  three  characters  are  paid  to  drink,  sing  karaoke,  and  most   importantly,  pay  attention  to  the  lonely-­‐hearts  that  come  to  see  them,  sometimes   night  after  night.  The  women  who  go  there  actually  see  onnabes  as  ‘ideal  men’,   mostly  because  they  find  them  more  secure  then  men.      

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Gaish (right)  is  singing  karaoke  with  his  customer.  

Tatsu  (right)  is  chatting  with  his  customer.  

Tatsu  (left)  is  singing  karaoke  with  his  customer.  

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Gaish (left)  is  flirting  with  one  of  his  customers.  He  has  a  number  of  customers  with  close   relationships.  And  he  is  building  a  ‘playboy’  and  cool  image,  which  seems  attracting  to  some  of   the  customers.  

Gaea  Girls,  2000  

Promotional  Image  of  Gaea  Girls,  Women  Makes  Movies  

Gaea Girls,  an  exploration  of  female  professional  wrestling  in  Japan,  is  also  the   name  of  a  female  professional  sumo  wrestlers  training  centre.  This  film  takes  us   deep  inside  the  gruelling  and  often  humiliating  training  regime  of  female   Japanese  professional  wrestlers.  The  training  is  hard  and  the  young  girls  sacrifice   any  independence,  freedom  and  privacy.  Their  only  quest  is  to  practice  hard  and   become  top  wrestlers.  They  have  training  all  the  time  and  they  sleep  in  bunk   beds  and  share  limited  spaces  with  the  others.  

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Coach of  Gaea  Japan:  Nagoyo  Chigusa  

Senior  wrestler  in  Gaea  Japan:  Satomura  Meiko  

The  trainee  and  the  main  character  of  the  film:  Takeuchi  Saika  

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What images  and  situations  of  women  are  shown  in  the  two  films?     Strong  women  image   In  the  press  kit  of  Longinotto’s  films  on  Women  Make  Movies  website,   Longinotto  said  in  an  interview  in  ArtMatters  (February  2003),       ‘I  like  making  films  about  strong  women,  and  particularly  women  who  are  brave  outsiders.  We   see  them  too  rarely  on  our  screens…I  want  the  audience  to  feel  close  to  the  people  in  my  films,  to   identify  with  them  in  some  way,’  

Longinotto  told  Bourke  (2001)  she  was  interested  in  these  Japanese  women  who   were  so  different  from  the  traditional  Japanese  women,  who  were  living  apart   from  men,  who  were  not  really  interested  in  getting  married  or  going  through   this  traditional  system  and  who  really  wanted  to  be  tough  athletes  and  stars.     In  Gaea  Girls,  early  on  in  the  documentary  we  see  a  stomach-­‐churning  wrestling   match  in  which  the  women  fighters  do  not  hold  back  –  from  belly-­‐flopping,   prostrate  adversary,  powerful  drop  kicks  to  the  face  and  body,  to  pulling  one   another’s  hair  and  to  using  a  lit  burner  on  the  other’s  face.  Those  scenes  at  the   beginning  shocked  me.  The  violence  is  extreme  and  no  punches  are  spared.  It  is   shocking  watching  scenes  of  women  with  blood-­‐caked  hair,  split  lips  and  blood-­‐ splattered  faces.       I  agree  with  what  Kelly  said  in  his  article  Viewing  Note  for  “Gaea  Girls”,  that   ‘professional  Western-­‐style  wrestling  holds  an  analytical  fascination’,  as  it  is  so   ‘mysterious’  or  just  like  what  he  described  –  ‘ambiguous’.  I  have  never  found   wrestling  or  boxing  to  be  compelling.  It  is  too  violent  for  me.  So  before  I  watched   Gaea  Girls,  I  actually  doubted  if  the  girls  could  do  it,  since  the  wrestling  image  is   just  so  different  to  the  Japanese  teenage  girls  image  in  my  mind,  which  is  girls   who  like  wearing  beauty  clothes,  tights,  with  make-­‐up  and  pretty  poses.  

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Figure 1  (left)  and  Figure  2  (right)  –  Japanese  school  girls  

Figure 3  (left)  and  Figure  4  (right)  –  Japanese  street  fashion  

 

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Figure 5  –  Lolita  style  

The  battle  scenes  in  it  remind  me  of  a  film,  The  Wrestler  (2008),  by  Darren   Aronofsky.  The  main  character  Randy  is  a  professional  wrestler  and  I  was  scared   by  the  bouts  in  the  film,  as  you  would  feel  how  cruel  and  bloody  the  fights  could   be.  And  I  am  surprised  that  even  Japanese  women  could  do  it,  despite  the  usual   shy  and  bashful  images  of  most  Japanese  women.  In  a  country  where  women  are   still  expected  to  become  demure  housewives,  I  think  they  will  probably  never   marry  or  have  children.    Maybe  they  will  when  they  retire  and  return  to  their   ‘normal  life’.  I  just  wonder  if  people  in  Japan  like  girl  wrestling.  I  thought  this   kind  of  sport  is  ‘rare’  and  not  popular  in  Japan,  but  in  the  bouts  scenes  in  the  film,   I  could  see  it  was  enthusiastically  received  in  the  arenas.  The  audiences  are   excited  while  they  are  watching  the  fights.  What  do  they  think  of  Japanese  girl   wrestling?  Why  do  they  like  that?  But  the  film  never  shows  the  thoughts  of  the   audience  or  even  trainees’  parents.  I  wish  there  were  more  interviews  in  Gaea   Girls  that  would  have  drawn  the  audience  even  deeper  into  their  lives,  and   explained  some  of  the  difficult  choices  they  made  in  such  a  deeply  patriarchal   society.      

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(Left) Poster  of  the  film.  (Middle  and  right)  Screen  shots  in  the  film.  He  is  in  the  ring  having  his   bouts.  He  is  the  main  character  Randy  ‘The  Ram’  Robinson,  played  by  Mickey  Routke.  

The  film  focuses  on  the  trainee  Takeuchi  as  she  is  preparing  to  become  a   professional  wrestler.  She  has  to  pass  a  series  of  tests  so  as  to  debut.  'They  are  so   full  of  life  in  the  ring',  Takeuchi  tells  Longinotto  in  the  film.  And  she  said,’  that’s   what  I  want  to  be  like!'  Takeuchi  prepared  to  give  her  blood,  sweat  and  tears  for   this  aim.  It  was  shocking  to  see  her  suffering  and  enduring  humiliation  after   humiliation,  but  then  I  gradually  noticed  that  she  actually  does  lack  the   necessary  strength.  Takeuchi  is  a  girl  in  her  late  20s  and  seems  to  be  shorter   than  most  of  the  others.  While  I  am  watching  the  film,  I  cannot  help  but  wonder   which  path  would  be  better  for  her  -­‐  to  succeed  and  enter  the  cruel,  unforgiving   world  of  wrestling,  or  to  fail  or  even  to  give  up  and  leave  the  ring?     Takeuchi  is  repeatedly  slapped  and  hit,  verbally  debased  and  ordered  to  leave,   before  she  is  finally  accepted  within  the  circle  of  professionals.  To  me,  the  whole   scene  is  just  like  training  soldiers,  I  could  feel  Takeuchi  is  always  exhausted,  and   she  keeps  crying  uncontrollably.  In  the  film,  the  training  boot  camp  is  at  the   countryside.  There  are  some  farms  near  the  boot  camp.  While  farmers  nearby   are  doing  their  jobs  in  a  pretty  relaxing  way  and  people  there  seem  to  be   enjoying  their  country  side  life,  the  atmosphere  in  the  boot  camp  is  so  intense   and  people  there  are  always  stressed  out  and  frustrated.      

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The coach  Nagayo  (with  golden  hair)  is  giving  training  to  the  trainees.  

Nagoyo  got  hit  by  her  competitor  but  she  just  hides  the  pain  and  wins  the  fight  at  the  end,  despite   her  blood  is  all  over  her  face.    

While other  women  are  trying  to  leave  awful  situations  of  being  beaten  or   abused,  these  wrestling  girls  are  willing  to  submit  to  terrible  humiliation  and   physical  abuse.  Takeuchi,  who  sees  the  ring  as  the  only  place  where  she  can   unload  her  aggression,  fails  her  first  test.  Despite  her  frustrated  feelings,  she  is   simply  not  tough  enough,  and  faces  the  shame  and  humiliation  of  being  tortured   by  Nagayo  for  her  weakness.  Even  in  the  second  test,  Takeuchi’s  face  is  full  of   blood  again  before  she  is  accepted  by  Nagayo.  Longinotto  filmed  the  whole  scene   of  the  debut  tests.  This  is  quite  hard  to  be  watched  actually,  seeing  blood  and   screaming  all  over  the  scene.        

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Here Longinotto  changed  the  content  of  cinematic  representation,  which  are  ‘to   present  realistic  images  of  women,  to  record  women  talking  about  their  real-­‐life   experiences’  (Lauretis,  1987:289).  This  should  be  what  Mulvey  (1975)  said  the   aspect  of  pleasure  looking  ‘demands  identification  of  the  ego  with  the  object  on   the  screen  through  the  spectator’s  fascination  with  and  recognition  of  his  like.’   In  the  film,  the  women  wrestlers  are  so  different  from  the  ‘preferred  images’  of   women  and  are  not  the  ‘desired  objects’  of  the  audience.  They  actually  are  very   polite  and  gentle  when  they  are  outside  the  ring,  from  the  interviews  and  daily   activities  I  see  in  the  film.  But  when  they  are  in  the  ring  ready  to  fight,  like   Takeuchi,  they  will  wear  the  ‘truculent  wrestler  masks’.  Butler  (1990)  proposed   that  identity  is  constructed  by  repeated  and  rehearsed  acts  like  body  gestures,   movements  and  enactments.  Besides,  ‘masking  is  an  extension  of  the  notion  of  a   performance…it  evokes  an  idea  of  an  authentic  identity’  (Tseëlon,  2001:9).  When   Takeuchi  is  in  the  ring,  she  performs  the  masculine  side  and  builds  up  the   ‘power’  by  her  poses  and  actions  and  screaming  in  high  notes  during  the  whole   bout.  She  looks  quite  scary  at  some  point,  as  she  looks  like  she  is  going  to  kill  her   competitor.    

One  of  the  girls  who  is  new  in  wrestling  but  then  is  frightened  by  Takeuchi’s  sparring  and  decides   to  give  up  wrestling.  

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Takeuchi is  scolded  by  Nagayo  who  just  ignores  Takeuchi’s  bloody  face.    

Not just  Takeuchi  is  wearing  a  mask  in  the  ring.  Nagayo  is  wearing  a  mask  when   she  is  teaching.  She  said  in  the  film  that  she  wants  to  build  up  a  strict  and  fierce   image  for  herself  and  to  provoke  the  killer  instinct  in  the  girls.  She  admits  that   she  loves  these  girls  as  if  they  were  her  own  children.  The  reason  why  Nagayo   does  that  is  because  she  wants  the  girls  to  be  strong  and  tough.  They  could  get   killed  if  they  are  careless  when  they  are  having  bouts  in  the  ring.  Nagayo  actually   wants  the  girls  to  hate  her  and  not  need  her.  And  in  the  film,  Nagayo  reveals  that   she  still  hates  her  father,  who  was  strict  to  her  when  she  was  small,  that  is  how   Nagayo  became  sturdy  and  powerful  as  men.     Director  Longinotto  actually  has  some  sad  experience.  She  said  in  her  interview   ‘I  wept  as  we  filmed  them  fight’,  the  training  boot  camp  in  Gaea  Girls  reminds  her   of  the  time  when  she  was  in  boarding  school.  She  did  not  have  a  happy  childhood   at  that  time.  Her  past  experience  seems  to  be  part  of  the  reasons  of  why  she  likes   making  films  about  women,  especially  strong  women.  Moreover,  Longinotto  has   similar  experience  with  the  coach  Nagayo.  Longinotto  said  she  did  not  have  a   good  relationship  with  her  violent  father,  so  she  has  to  be  strong,  independent   and  with  superior  strength,  like  Nagayo.    ‘I  bet  you're  lonely  now,  father,  because   I'm  better  than  you,’  she  said.    

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Takeuchi’s mother,  who  is  watching  her  daughter’s  bout,  is  actually  worrying  about  her  daughter.  

Takeuchi  finished  her  debut  fight  beautifully.  

These  girls  are  another  kind  of  strong  women.  Unlike  the  libbers  in  the  1970s,   they  are  not  businesswomen,  are  not  economic  independent  and  are  not  trying   to  achieve  something  equal  in  society.  Maybe  some  traditional  Japanese  people   may  think  they  are  not  thoughtful  enough  and  they  do  not  execute  what  a  ‘good   women’  should  do:  getting  married  and  settling  into  domestic  subservience.  But   women  see  them  in  a  different  way.  They  are  eager  to  do  something  for   themselves,  are  hoping  to  show  their  own  strength  and  power  on  stage,  where   they  could  not  achieve  when  they  become  ‘normal  girls’.      

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I do  not  think  Gaea  Girls  is  challenging  socio-­‐sexual  politics  in  Japan,  but  ‘it  is   compelling  human  drama  mixed  with  the  kind  of  underdog  makes  good  story’   (MaGee,  2010).  I  am  glad  that  Longinotto  made  this  film  that  shows  another   aspect  of  Japanese  women.  Longinotto  told  Morrow  (2010)  that  there  was  a  crew   from  Japanese  television  to  do  the  filming  together.  I  see  how  the  crew  trying  to   avoid  ‘sensitive  images’  on  screen,  because  Longinotto  watched  the  film  other   crew  made  and  said,  ‘it  was  fascinating  because  the  violence  just  wasn't  there.  It   was  almost  as  if  they  didn't  see  it.’     Gender  inequality/  homosexuality/  masculinity  as  masquerade  (Shinjuku   Boys)   Though  the  film  looks  unrefined  and  dated,  it  is  the  strength  and  depth  of  the   interviews  in  Shinjuku  Boys  that  makes  it  an  even  more  striking  documentary.   One  of  the  most  surprising  things  is  that  all  three  characters  and  their  girlfriends   talk  about  their  personal  lives  and  sexual  relationships  thoroughly  in  the   interviews.  This  is  remarkable,  especially  Japanese  society  in  the  90s  was  still   very  traditional.  They  have  slightly  different  stories  and  perform  different  kinds   of  masculinity.  

Gaish  in  the  film  

Gaish  strings  along  several  women  from  the  club,  likes  performing  ‘playboy’  and   ‘cool  man’  style.  Gaish  admits  in  the  film  that  he  sleeps  with  some  of  his   customers,  but  never  takes  his  clothes  off  just  because  he  does  not  want  to  ruin   the  illusion  that  he  is  a  man.  But  in  his  interviews,  you  discover  how  depressed    

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he actually  feels  because  of  the  unhappy  experience  with  his  first  relationship   with  a  teacher,  he  secretly  has  a  broken  heart  and  wishes  he  had  never  been   born.  The  main  reason  of  why  they  broke  up  is  because  the  teacher  thought  she   was  getting  old  and  had  to  find  a  husband.    

Gaish  confesses  in  the  film  that  he  knows  he  will  never  be  a  real  man.  

The  masculine  image  of  Gaish  in  the  film,  even  his  walking  style  and  emotions  are  not  feminine.  

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Gaish’s ‘playboy’  image  in  the  nightclub.  

In  Japan,  it  is  a  kind  of  tradition  for  women  to  get  married  before  30  years  old.   The  usual  pattern  of  women  is  getting  married,  being  housewives  and  being   responsible  for  childcare,  care  of  the  elderly  and  doing  housekeeping.   Though  in  1990,  there  were  more  women  moved  away  from  household-­‐based   employment  (Wikipedia  –  Women  in  Japan),  there  was  an  increased   participation  of  married  women  in  the  labor  force.  Some  married  women  worked   in  professional  and  government  jobs.  Others  started  their  own  businesses  or   took  over  family  businesses.  But  more  commonly,  women  after  marriage  would   be  full-­‐time  housewives.  No  wonder  the  onnabes  feel  being  isolated  from  the   ‘normal’  Japanese  society.  Gaish’s  interview  gives  me  a  feeling  of  this.  

Tatsu  in  the  film  

 

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Tatsu lives  with  his  girlfriend  Tomoe,  whose  parents  want  her  to  get  married   with  a  ‘real  man’  and  have  children.  But  Tomoe  said  she  would  never  get  married   and  would  not  have  children.  She  just  likes  to  stay  with  Tatsu.  Tatsu  is  the  only   one  of  the  three  pursuing  medical  sexual  reassignment.  Interestingly,  Tatsu  is   also  the  only  one  of  the  three  who  feels  comfortable  being  naked  in  front  of  his   sexual  partner.  Tatsu  even  admits  in  the  film  that  he  wish  he  could  do  what  a  real   man  could  do  during  sex.  

Tatsu  and  his  girlfriend  Tomoe  

Tatsu talks  about  his  thoughts  and  feelings  when  he  is  having  sex.  

Nava  (1992)  stated  that  ‘all  societies  define  the  boundaries  of  acceptable   behaviour  for  men  and  women.’  And  she  said  lesbianism  is  always  not  within  the   boundaries.  It  is  astonishing  that  Tatsu  discusses  sexual  issues  in  front  of  the   camera  without  any  hesitations.  If  the  director  was  a  Japanese,  I  guess  the  whole   scene  would  have  been  cut  or  left  a  small  part  only.  I  believe  homosexual  topics   were  still  ‘forbidden’  on  the  screen  in  Japan  at  that  time  and  so  ‘homosexual   women  have  been  forced  to  conceal  the  fact’  (Nava,  1992:40).  I  believe  this  

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interview scene  would  arouse  many  attentions  during  the  time  when  the  film   first  came  out  in  the  90s,  for  Tastsu  and  Tomoe  being  so  straightforward  to  the   interviewers.  

Kazuki  in  the  film    

Kazuki is  in  love  with  a  male-­‐to-­‐female  transsexual  Kumi,  who  has  undergone   medical  reassignment,  and  performs  in  the  nightclub.  Kazuki  said  their   relationship  is  sexless.  He  used  to  think  that  if  he  could  not  have  sex  with  Kumi,   he  would  rather  go  and  find  someone  else.  But  then  he  realized  a  relationship  is   not  just  about  sex.  It  is  more  about  the  emotional  aspects  and  respect.   There  is  a  part  where  Kazuki  calls  back  home  and  talks  to  his  mother  who  he  has   not  spoken  to  for  several  years.  He  is  the  only  one  who  actually  discusses  the   matter  with  his  family.  From  the  short  conversation  they  had,  it  is  rather   tentative  and  it  brings  familial  relations  into  the  complex  social  relationships.  I   believe  Kazuki’s  family  is  quite  traditional,  from  his  mother’s  sense  of  oppression   in  her  conversation  and  her  voice  sounds  a  bit  frustrated  when  she  knows   Kazuki  is  a  lesbian  who  has  a  transsexual  girlfriend.  But  the  conversation  seems   a  relief  to  both  of  them.     Doane’s  description  (1982)  on  masquerade  in  Tseëlon’s  book  (2001):     The  masquerade,  by  creating  a  distance  between  self  and  image,  problematises  comfortable   assumptions  of  gender,  sexuality  and  categorization  as  a  system.  

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The three  characters  have  the  ability  to  masquerade  as  lesbians,  but  that  does   not  mean  that  ‘they  radically  challenge  the  reproduction  of  heterosexuality’   (Skeggs,  1997:134).    Skeggs  believes  the  lesbian  masquerade  helps  develop   female  friendships  and  women  tend  to  get  closer  to  each  other.  Lesbians  there   could  ‘have  a  laugh’  easily  and  do  not  have  to  suffer  any  consequences  of   labeling.     In  the  film,  three  onnabes  work  in  a  lesbian  nightclub.  Welker’s  journal   (2010:364)  said  these  clubs  could  offer  ‘a  place  for  lesbians  to  meet,  to  form   networks  of  friendship  and  support,  and  to  gain  a  sense  of  themselves  as   members  of  a  group’.  This  idea  is  close  to  Skeggs’s.  I  believe  this  helps  the   lesbians  to  find  their  ‘ego’,  similar  to  the  wrestlers  girls.  To  a  lesbian,  the  club  is   “a  space  where  others  see  her  as  ‘one  of  us’,  in  contrast  to  the  world  outside   where  she  is  likely  mistaken  for  ‘one  of  them.’”  This  is  a  shelter  for  them,  where   they  could  build  up  their  identities  and  confidences,  ‘a  space  where  women  can   meet  other  women  whom  they  might  desire  and  who  might  desire  them  in   return.’     Actually,  Welker  (2010)  said  the  1970s  is  a  remarkable  era  for  lesbian  feminism   and  lesbian  organizing.  Women  developed  a  sense  of  lesbian  community.  But   Welker  quoted  lesbian  activist  Kakefuda  Hiroko  (2002)  that  ‘feminism  in  Japan  is   a  very  heterosexual  oriented  movement,  and  a  lot  of  the  time  it  doesn’t  consider   lesbians.’  I  could  see  the  efforts  on  gaining  sexual  equality  were  so  insufficient.      

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Kazuki’s girlfriend,  Kumi,  is  performing  in  a  nightclub.  

Kazuki  and  Kumi  in  the  interview  

‘He  is  a  woman  who  likes  women.  I  am  a  man  who  likes  men.  So  we  understand  each  other.’  

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Kazuki calls  back  home  to  chat  with  his  mother.  Her  mother  is  so  much  open-­‐minded  then   Kazuki’s  grandmother.  Even  though  Kazuki’s  mother  is  a  bit  upset  because  of  the  truth,  she  let   Kazuki  to  choose  his  own  life.  Kazuki  then  says  it  was  terrifying,  but  wonderful.  

This  documentary  was  made  in  1995.  The  gender  inequality  during  that  time   was  a  concern.  You  could  imagine  how  much  discrimination  the  three  onnabes   suffer.  They  have  always  been  isolated  by  other  ‘normal  people’,  the  mainstream   society  and  even  family.  Women  in  Britain  started  to  be  aware  of  gender  equality   in  the  second  wave  feminism.  But  today  in  Japan,  the  gender  equality  sill  lags   behind  than  other  developed  countries.  According  to  the  Gender  Gap  Report   2012,  Japan  is  ranked  101  out  of  135  countries.  In  the  subindexes,  Japan  has  the   largest  difference  of  female-­‐to-­‐male  ratio  in  political  empowerment,  which  is   ranked  110.     Kitayama’s  aricle  (2010)  mentions  Secretary  General  Angel  Gurría  from  the   Organization  for  Economic  Co-­‐operation  and  Development  (OECD),  who  said  the   country  (Japan)  is  not  making  the  most  of  women’s  talents  when  it  comes  to  the   workforce.  And  many  female  workers  are  only  part-­‐time  employees.  ‘Japan  is   underutilizing  the  talents  of  its  female  population,’  Gurría  said.  He  added  the   proportion  of  the  female  workforce  between  the  ages  of  25  and  54  is  limited  to   65  percent,    ‘relatively  low  compared  to  other  OECD  countries,’  he  said.  These   statistics  give  me  some  insight  on  the  sexual  imbalance  in  Japan.  It  does  not  just   about  the  sexuality,  but  also  in  many  areas  especially  in  labor  force  and  political  

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movement. These  actually  affect  Japanese  women,  making  them  economically   dependent,  which  somehow  makes  them  relay  on  men.    

Kazuki  (in  the  middle)  and  his  work  colleagues.    

Conclusion     All  of  the  women  in  the  Gaea  Girls  and  Shinjuku  Boys  defy  the  ‘traditional  image’   of  Japanese  women  and  impressions  of  masculine,  feminine,  gay,  lesbian  or   straight.  Though  Gaea  Girls  is  less  nakedly  about  gender  and  sexuality  than   Shinjuku  Boys,  both  films  are  fascinating  in  what  they  reveal  about  women’s  lives   that  are  so  completely  different  from  those  of  mainstream  Japanese  women.  Both   Gaea  Girls  and  Shinjuku  Boys  are  directed  by  a  woman  director.  Longinotto   manages  to  infiltrate  the  environment  so  unobtrusively  is  a  proof  of  her   familiarity  with  Japanese  culture  and  concern  with  women's  issues  that  has   already  left  its  mark  in  the  two  films.     Longinotto  is  adopting  an  ethnographer's  approach.  She  said  in  Bourke’s   interview  (2001),     …hopefully  what's  happening  is  that  the  audience  isn't  being  told  that  these  people  are  obviously   in  a  different  culture  to  us,  but  is  finding  they  have  the  same  emotions  as  us.  A  way  of  getting   close  to  people  is  through  following  their  stories  and  getting  involved  in  their  stories,  and  getting   emotionally  involved  in  their  stories.  

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I do  not  think  Longinotto  wants  to  be  assigned  a  feminist  label,  though  she  likes   making  films  about  women.  Her  work  challenged  the  social  structure  and  had   critique  of  patriarchy.  I  think  what  she  wants,  and  actually  I  believe  most  women   filmmakers  want,  is  to  bring  the  issues  and  concerns  up  on  the  screen.  By  using   film  as  a  media,  she  highlights  the  little-­‐known  aspects  of  women  to  the   audience.  She  told  Cochrane  (2010),  ‘if  women  have  no  rights,  they're  the  ones   you  want  to  make  films  about.’  Furthermore,  her  observational  filming  has  the   ‘power  to  stop  and  reverse  time’s  inexorable  passage,  providing  a  powerful  tool   for  the  obsessive  investigation  of  the  past,  autobiography’s  stock-­‐in-­‐trade’   (Revov,  2008:43).     Longinotto  is  helping  the  women  to  seek  full  respect  by  each  character’s  unique   stories  and  showing  the  impacts  of  those  unfair  preconceptions  or  traditions  on   these  women.  Rich  (1986:269)  gives  a  precise  statement  on  how  feminist  cinema   could  help  feminism,       …an  evolving  political  movement  gave  feminist  cinema  a  power  and  direction  entirely   unprecedented  in  independent  filmmaking,  bringing  issues  of  theory/practice,   aesthetics/meaning,  process/representation  into  sharp  focus.  

Longinotto’s  work  is  often  related  to  Third  World,  like  India,  Africa  and  Iran.  I   believe  she  will  keep  the  path  of  making  documentaries  in  foreign  countries,   especially  where  traditions  are  still  quite  important.  Those  traditions  may  show   some  inequalities  to  women,  but  they  are  still  happening  nowadays.  She  told   Humphreys  (2010)  some  feelings  when  she  is  doing  camerawork,  which  I  think   this  is  part  of  the  reason  why  she  likes  to  make  films  in  the  ‘hidden  world’,     I’m  really  aware  that  I’m  seeing  what  the  audience  is  going  to  see…people  are  going  to  be  here   where  I  am  and  see  this.  Something  special’s  happening  and  I’m  capturing  it’  –  it’s  a  very  nice   feeling.  

Longinotto  raises  awareness  of  feminism  be  aroused  globally.  To  most  people   including  me,  feminism  seems  to  be  something  only  popular  in  Western  

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countries. I  believe  it  is  because  of  the  religious  roots,  changes,  demonstrations   and  movements  in  the  18th  to  20th  centuries  were  all  happened  in  Western   countries.  Feminists  from  different  countries  may  have  different  explanations  or   arguments  on  what  feminism  is,  like  Brazilian  women  think  feminism  is  too   ‘eurocentric’,  some  Latin  American  women  even  reject  the  word  ‘feminism’   (Walters,  2005:118).  Anyway,  feminism  is  to  give  a  voice,  to  let  women  have  an   equal  part  of  things,  to  have  an  equal  respect  and  an  equal  power.  I  somehow   agree  with  Longinotto  who  said  feminism  is  kind  of  ‘unmodern’  (Bourke,  2001).   Bourke  asked  Longinotto  if  she  was  criticized  for  not  objective  enough  because   of  the  feminist  idea  in  the  films  and  showing  women’s  side  all  the  time,  she  said,       …we're  proud  they  say  we're  on  the  side  of  the  women  because  we  are  really.  And  we  don't  want   to  be  objective.  We  try  and  film  things  as  they  happen  but  our  emotion  is  definitely  on  the  side  of   the  women.  

                                                         

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Tseëlon, E.  (2001)  (Editor)  Masquerade  and  Identities:  Essays  on  Gender,  Sexuality   and  Marginality.  Routledge,  London.     Walters,  M.  (2005)  Feminism:  A  Very  Short  Introduction.  Oxford  University  Press   Inc.,  New  York.     Walter,  N.  (2010)  Living  dolls:  the  return  of  sexism.  Virago,  London.     Journals/  articles:   Alcoff,  L.  (1988)  Cultural  Feminism  versus  Post-­‐Structuralism:  The  Identity   Crisis  in  Feminist  Theory,  Signs:  Journal  of  Women  in  Culture  and  Society,   13:31:405-­‐36     Cousins  M.  (2009)  Divorce  Iranian  Style/  Runaway:  Two  films  by  Kim  Longinotto   and  Ziba  Mir-­‐Hosseini,  Divorce  Iranian  Style/  Runaway  (Second  Run  DVD).  pp.  03-­‐ 06     Mayer  S.  (2010)  Always  Should  Be  Someone  You  Really  Love:  Kim  Longinotto’s   Gaea  Girls  and  Shinjuku  Boys,  Gaea  Girls  /  Shinjuku  Boys  (Second  Run  DVD).  pp.   03-­‐11     Riley,  D.  (1987)  Does  a  Sex  have  a  History?  ‘Women  and  Feminism’,  New   Formations,  1:35-­‐45     Smaill,  B.  (2007)  Interview  with  Kim  Longinotto,  Studies  in  Documentary  Film.   Volume  1,  number  2,  pp.  177-­‐187     Thynne,  L.,  Al-­‐Ali,  N.  &  Longinotto,  K.  (2011)  an  interview  with  Kim  Longinotto,   Feminist  Review.  Number  99,  pp.  25-­‐38     Welker,  J.  (2010)  Telling  her  story:  narrating  a  Japanese  lesbian  community.   Journal  of  lesbian  studies.  Vol.  14,  no.  4,  pp.  359-­‐380.     Online  journals/  articles/  interviews:   Bourke,  P.  (2001)  INTERVIEW:  With  "Gaea  Girls,"  Kim  Longinotto  and  Jano   Williams  Hit  the  Mat.  Indiewire.  Available  from:   http://www.indiewire.com/article/interview_with_gaea_girls_kim_longinotto_a nd_jano_williams_hit_the_mat  [Accessed  1  January  2013]     Cochrane,  K.  (2010)  Kim  Longinotto:  ‘Film-­‐making  saved  my  life’.  Guardian  News   and  Media  Limited.  Available  from:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/feb/12/longinotto-­‐film-­‐making-­‐ saved-­‐life  [Accessed  5  November  2012]     Cronin,  S.  (2010)  Gaea  Girls  +  Shinjuku  Boys.  Electric  Sheep.  Available  from:   http://www.electricsheepmagazine.co.uk/reviews/2010/02/01/gaea-­‐girls-­‐ shinjuku-­‐boys/  [Accessed  5  November  2012]    

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Humphreys, O.  (2010)  The  Lives  of  Others:  An  Interview  with  Kim  Longinotto.   Documentary  Filmmakers  Group.  Available  from:   http://thedfg.org/news/details/341/the-­‐lives-­‐of-­‐others-­‐an-­‐interview-­‐with-­‐kim-­‐ longinotto  [Accessed  1  January  2013]     Kelly,  W.  (Year  is  not  mentioned)  Viewing  Notes  for  “Gaea  Girls”.  Available  from:   http://classes.yale.edu/03-­‐04/anth254a/videos/gaea_girls.htm  [Accessed  5   November  2012]     Kitayama,  A.  (2010)  The  Great  Debate  UK:  Japan  lags  behind  in  gender  equality.   Reuters.  Available  from:  http://blogs.reuters.com/great-­‐debate-­‐ uk/2010/03/07/japan-­‐lags-­‐behind-­‐in-­‐gender-­‐equality/  [Accessed  1  January   2013]     Lacey,  L.  (2010)  Kim  Longinotto:  capturing  women  in  critical  transitions.  The   Globe  and  Mail.  Available  from:   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/kim-­‐longinotto-­‐capturing-­‐women-­‐ in-­‐critical-­‐transitions/article1211066/  [Accesses  1  January  2013]     MaGee,  C.  (2010)  Hot  Docs  ’10  Review:  Gaea  Girls.  The  J-­Film  Pow-­Wow.  Available   from:  http://jfilmpowwow.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/hot-­‐docs-­‐10-­‐review-­‐gaea-­‐ girls.html  [Accessed  1  January  2013]     Meehan,  S.  (Year  is  not  mentioned),  Gaea  Girls.  The  Japan  Society.  Available  from:   http://www.japansociety.org.uk/10246/gaea-­‐girls-­‐ %E3%82%AC%E3%82%A4%E3%82%A2%E3%83%BB%E3%82%AC%E3%83 %BC%E3%83%AB%E3%82%BA/  [Accessed  5  November  2012]     Morrow,  F.  (2000)  'I  wept  as  we  filmed  them  fight'.  The  Independent.  Available   from:  http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-­‐entertainment/films/features/i-­‐ wept-­‐as-­‐we-­‐filmed-­‐them-­‐fight-­‐697354.html  [Accessed  5  November  2012]     Neilson,  C.  (2010)  DVD  talk  on  Gaea  Girls/  Shinjuku  Boys.  DVD  Talk.  Available   from:  http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/42981/gaea-­‐girls-­‐shinjuku-­‐boys/   [Accessed  5  November  2012]     Otake,  T.  (2009)  The  Sky’s  The  Limit:  Japan’s  gender  inequality  puts  it  to  shame   in  world  rankings.  The  Japan  Times  Online.  Available  from:   http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20080224x1.html  [Accessed  15  November   2012]     Robinson,  T.  (2002)  Gaea  Girls.  Onion  Inc.  Available  from:   http://www.avclub.com/articles/gaea-­‐girls,20473/  [Accessed  5  November   2012]     Saunders,  R.  (2010)  News,  Events  and  Festivals  –  Interview  with  Kim  Longinotto.   Documentary  Filmmakers  Group.  Available  from:   http://thedfg.org/news/details/405/interview-­‐with-­‐kim-­‐longinotto  [Accessed   15  November  2012]  

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Websites: Mubi  Europe  (2013)  Kim  Longinotto.  Available  from:   http://mubi.com/cast_members/25562  [Accessed  15  December  2012]     IMDB,  The  Wrestler  (2008).  Available  from:   http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1125849/  [Accessed  5  November  2012]     Women  Makes  Movies  (2009)  the  films  of  kim  longinotto,  bio  page.  Available   from:  http://www.wmm.com/longinotto/about.htm  [Accessed  15  December   2012]     Women  Makes  Movies  (2009)  Kim  Longinotto  At  the  Museum  of  Modern  Art   (2009)  [Press  kit].  Available  from:   http://www.wmm.com/longinotto/Longinotto_PK.pdf  [Accessed  5  November   2012]     World  Economic  Forum  (2012)  The  Global  Gender  Gap  Report  2012.  Available   from:  http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-­‐gender-­‐gap-­‐report-­‐2012   [Accesses  1  January  2013]     Wikis:   Chigusa  Nagayo  (2012)  Wikipedia  [online].  5  November.  Available  from:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chigusa_Nagayo  [Accessed  12  November  2012]     Gaea  Japan  (2012)  Wikipedia  [online].  14  November.  Available  from:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaea_Japan  [Accessed  21  December  2012]     Kim  Longinotto  (2012)  Wikipedia  [online].  17  November.  Available  from:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Longinotto  [Accessed  18  November  2012]     Shinjuku  Boys  (2011)  Wikipedia  [online].  15  December.  Available  from:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinjuku_Boys  [Accessed  21  December  2012]     The  Wrestler  (2008  film)  (2012)  Wikipedia  [online].  4  November.  Available   from:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wrestler_(2008_film)  [Accessed  12   November  2012]       Illustrations:   Figure  1  (2010)  World  Cup  Blog  –  Teenage  (girl)  World  Cup  Finalists!  BootsnAll   Travel  Network.  Available  from:  http://japan.worldcupblog.org/world-­‐cup-­‐ 2010/teenage-­‐world-­‐cup-­‐finalists.html  [Accessed  31  December  2012]     Figure  2  (2010)  flickr  –  Japanese  School  Girls  in  Tokyo.  Yahoo!  UK.  Available   from:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/barbarellathemadcatlady/4528958903/   [Accessed  31  December  2012]    

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Figure 3  (2009)  flickr  –  Japanese  Girls  at  Shibuya  109.  Yahoo!  UK.  Available  from:   http://www.flickr.com/photos/tokyofashion/3698226256/  [Accessed  31   December  2012]     Figure  4  (2012)  Japanese  street  style,  Yuri  &  Haruka.  StyleXposer.  Available  from:   http://stylexposer.com/japanese-­‐street-­‐style-­‐school-­‐girl-­‐saty-­‐tsumire-­‐red-­‐robe-­‐ jillian-­‐kate/japanese-­‐street-­‐style-­‐yuri-­‐haruka/  [Accessed  31  December  2012]     Figure  5(2010)  Japanese  Street  Style.  Buzznet.  Available  from:   http://anilau.buzznet.com/user/journal/7492741/japanese-­‐street-­‐style/   [Accessed  31  December  2012]     Longinotto  K.  Promotional  images.  Women  Makes  Movies.  Available  from:   http://www.wmm.com/longinotto/press.htm  [Accessed  5  November  2012]     Burns,  A.  Andy  B’s  Take  –  Why  The  Wrestler  Is  About  More  Than  Just  Wrestling.   Biff  Bam  Popcast!  Available  from:  http://biffbampop.com/category/the-­‐ wrestler/  [Accessed  12  November  2012]     Reed  N.  (2012)  The  A-­‐Z  of  Geek  Cinema:  W  is  for  the  Wrestler.   NerdsOnTheRocks.com.  Available  from:  http://nerdsontherocks.com/a-­‐z-­‐geek-­‐ cinema-­‐wrestler  [Accessed  12  November  2012]     The  Wrestler.  HBO  Movies.  Available  from:  http://www.hbo.com/movies/the-­‐ wrestler/index.html  [Accessed  12  November  2012]     Films:   Gaea  Girls  /  Shinkuju  Boys  (2010)  [DVD].  Directed  by  Kim  Longinotto  and  Jano   Williams.  UK:  Second  Run  Ltd.     Television  Programmes:   Second  Wave  Feminism:  The  campaign  for  women’s  rights  in  the  1970s  (1963)   [online],  BBC  Archive,  11  February.  Available  from:   http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/70sfeminism/  [Accessed  12  November  2012]     Women  (2010)  [online],  BBC  Four,  8  March.  Available  from:  Box  of  Broadcast   [Accessed  12  November  2012]    

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Films By and About Women – analyzing the work of Kim Longinotto  

I am a media student, which is why I am particularly interested in women filmmakers. I would like to investigate more on how they make films...

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