Attention to alternative methods for creating, promoting, and discussing films can function as both a meaningful gesture of resistance and advocacy for diversity. Nonmainstream, noncommercial, low-budget independent films have long been an effective means for filmmakers marginalized by ethnicity, gender, class, and/or sexual minority groups to communicate their appeals for social criticism, historical inquisition, and aesthetic innovation. The biography and oeuvre of Emiko Omori, the Japanese American cinematographer and documentarian, embodies and exemplifies these issues. In February 2017, New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) featured a retrospective of Omori's films as part of its Documentary Fortnight 2017: International Festivals of Nonfiction Films. MoMA screened Omori's four feature documentaries–Rabbit in the Moon (1999), Passion & Power: The Technology of Orgasm (2007, Omori and Wendy Slick), Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World (2010), and To Chris Marker, An Unsent Letter (2012)—as well as a new short film, When Rabbit Left the Moon (2017). These films demonstrate distinct social, historical, cultural, and thematic ramifications with an aesthetic consistency and a subtle, local focus on the San Francisco Bay Area. Best known to West Coast audiences, Omori embraced the opportunity to introduce her works to an East Coast audience by engaging in post-screening dialogues with viewers and including several people who had appeared in her films, thus transcending local contexts and creating new translocal ones.
Rabbit In and Out of the Moon: A Retrospective of Emiko Omori
Ling Zhang is Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at SUNY Purchase College. Formerly a documentary filmmaker, she is also an established Chinese film critic with a published collection of reviews and essays in Chinese (2011). She has published articles on Chinese cinema and film theory in Journal of Chinese Cinemas, CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, Asian Cinema, Film Art (mainland China), and Film Appreciation (Taiwan). She is currently translating Chinese film theory into English for the forthcoming anthology Chinese Film Theory and Criticism (Duke University Press).
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Ling Zhang; Rabbit In and Out of the Moon: A Retrospective of Emiko Omori. Film Quarterly 1 September 2017; 71 (1): 42–50. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2017.71.1.42
Download citation file: