Research Seminar: Eye—Camera—Ninagawa

This video essay deconstructs the opening montage of Japanese director Ninagawa Mika’s 2012 film Helter Skelter to closely analyze how Ninagawa exerts self-branding through homage as consumption.

Ninagawa Mika’s works are highly referential, each endeavor rife with intertextuality. This video essay deconstructs the opening montage of her 2012 film Helter Skelter into its constituent parts through the organization of visual motifs to reveal a core, provocative reference that visualizes Ninagawa’s own relationship to the camera gaze.

Dr Colleen Laird is an Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her primary focus is on Japanese women directors and has published on the industry relationships between women directors, female identifying spectators, and the contemporary Japanese film market. She has produced three series of public-facing educational videos on Japanese cinema as well as interviews with international scholars of Japanese film, and is the creator of the Japanese Women Directors Project. Her experiments with videographic criticism are housed on her Vimeo site and three of her video essays were included in the Sight and Sound (British Film Institue) list of "Best Video Essays of 2022." She was recently awarded a 2023 SSHRC Connection Grant for the project “Embodying the Video Essay: Advanced Methods in Videographic Theory Through Global Communities of Practice."

Dr Lucy Fife Donaldson will be the respondent for this event. Dr Donaldson is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, Head of Department of Film Studies and Co-Director of Centre for Screen Cultures at the University of St Andrews. Her research focuses on film style, audiovisual design, texture, performance and the body. Her recent publications include an audiovisual essay on the contribution of George Hoyningen-Huene as colour consultant to Les Girls (1957), which was included in Sight & Sound's best video essays of 2022 and received an honourable mention in the BAFTSS practice research awards 2022.