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Cinematic Landscapes

Cinematic Landscapes
Observations on the Visual Arts and Cinema of China and Japan

The first major study of the relationship between visual art and film in China and Japan.

January 1994
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365 pages | 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 | 13 color and 107 b&w illus., 2 figures, 2 tables |

China and Japan both have traditional art forms that have been highly developed and long studied. In these original essays, noted film and art scholars explore how the spatial consciousness, compositional techniques, and construction of images in these traditional and modern art forms also inform filmmaking in the two countries, so that film and art share the same culturally defined "methods of seeing."

This first major study of the relationship between Chinese and Japanese art and film brings together writers from the United States, Europe, Australia, China, and Japan, including Japan's well-known film critic Sato Tadao and Beijing Film Academy's Ni Zhen, screenwriter of the Oscar-nominated film Raise the Red Lantern. The essays discuss the influence of the traditional arts, including scroll painting and printmaking, on Chinese and Japanese cinema and demonstrate that national cinemas cannot be completely understood without considering their indigenous traditions.


Linda C. Ehrlich is Associate Professor of Japanese, Comparative Literature, and Cinema at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. David Desser is Professor of Cinema Studies and Speech Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


“This brilliant and sumptuous volume . . . demonstrates that we have only scratched the surface in Western discussions of Chinese and Japanese film. Beautifully and profusely illustrated, lovingly indexed, and absolutely immersed in the culture it examines, Cinematic Landscapes is entirely successful in exploring the many links between the centuries-old graphic tradition of Japanese painting and scroll making and the more recent discipline of the cinema. . . . Cinematic Landscapes pushes Western knowledge of Asian cinema many steps forward and persuasively serves as a model for future inquiry in this area of study.”
Journal of Film and Video

“Not only will specialists in Asian film benefit from this book, but many scholars working in Asian regional studies, Asian art and literature, as well as film history and criticism undoubtedly will find this anthology of interest. It is valuable as a textbook in courses on art and the cinema, Asian cinema, or film form and aesthetics. The work makes an important contribution to Asian film and art scholarship.”
Journal of Asian Studies

“An elegant volume whose luxury factor approaches the coffee-table book and whose superlative essays guarantee that the reader will not watch these films the same way again.”
Film Quarterly