I have been a long time subscriber to the SSJ-Forum, which these days is almost entirely announcements for various academic panels, conferences, and seminars for professors and academics and such. Every once in a while I manage to attend one or two.
Today, though, ICAS at Temple University sent out a message advertising an upcoming film screening of Cocktail Party, directed by Regge Life.
The film is based on a 1967 novella of the same name by Tatsuhiro Oshiro.
I haven’t heard of, let alone read, the novella before. The superficial differences in the setting between the novel and the film, are themselves interesting. OnThe novella was written in 1967, when Okinawa was under direct US occupation, while the film has a contemporary (mid-2010s) setting, in an Okinawa which is a part of Japan, but where much of the land is still controlled by the U.S. military with little regard to the wishes and needs of the people of Okinawa. Then while in the novel
Regge Life, the director, first film was Struggle and Success:The African American Experience in Japan, a film I remember watching years (and years) ago. He first came to Japan in 1990, where he was allowed to observe Yoji Yamada (!) as he filmed Tora-san 43 (!!!!!) (!!!!!!) (!!!!!!)!
I found this great Kyoto Journal interview has lots of information about Life’s experiences with Yamada. Perhaps in the future someone can put together a double feature of Tora-san 25, which is set in Okinawa, and Life’s Cocktail Party?
For now, though, Cocktail Party alone is a all too rare film that attempts to address the problems and complexities of the United States long time occupation of and relationship with Okinawa. It will be screening on Thursday, November 16th at 6:30 pm at the Minato-ku Azabu Civic Center Here is a link to the ICAS website with further details about the screening: https://www.tuj.ac.jp/icas/event/cocktail-party-with-directors-video-remarks/