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Japanese and Other Altaic Languages (History and structure by Roy A. Miller

By Roy A. Miller

Eastern and different Altaic Languages (History and constitution of languages)

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Indd 26 6/1/2007 8:28:52 AM japanese film without japan 27 slapstick or Chris Marker comedy. This is somewhat of a stretch, to read revolutionary political possibilities into the formal intricacies of a marginally popular Japanese film. Not to mention pinning to this film everything from a mathematical theory of number to Buddhist philosophy, from Lacanian psychoanalysis and the phenomenology of film experience to Marxist political economy and a dialectical theory of history. Put this way, of course, this argument is laughable.

Burch drove the discussion in a direction 180 degrees opposite from the one Richie took. And yet, on a more basic level, it must be underscored that the two scholars were fellow travelers along the same exegetic avenue, both pursuing versions of Japanese exceptionalism informed by the premise that the nation’s cinema is best understood as a unique outgrowth of long-preserved, deep-rooted aspects of traditional culture and identity. Like Richie, Burch stressed “the profound uniqueness, the profound otherness” of Japanese cinema.

Rather, a return to Zero (and to laugher) is in order. But this time, to the time of Zero, the time of laughter. Monday is already a temporal category, one that straddles the week before and the week to come. Takagi wakes up Monday morning with not so much a hangover as an amnesic spell. The first part of the film is told in flashback (triggers that take us to the funeral, the café, and the bar) while the middle of the film catches up with itself by way of the media—the newspaper and TV indicate the exact time and day of the week (by the time we get to this point in the film the triggers work in reverse, so the shotgun shells take us back to the hotel room).

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