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V-Cinema: The Video Revolution in Japan

Tom Mes
language: English
subtitles: Polish, English, Dutch, Finnish, Italian


The golden ages of the video rental store were also those of cinema in general. With the extra sources of revenue this emerging market provided, more films than ever were produced. Nowhere was this impact more obvious as in Japan, where the videocassette recorder was invented. The so-called V-Cinema was initially meant to turn a quick profit, cheap, direct to video genre movies, of which annually 200 new titles turned up on the shelves of the Japanese video rental stores.
And yet, V-Cinema produced talents such as Miike Takashi (“Audition”), Kurosawa Kiyoshi (“Shokuzai”), Aoyama Shinji (“Eureka”) and Nakata Hideo (“Ringu”), as well as the J-Horror genre. All of whom become internationally acclaimed.

Tom Mes

Tom Mes is the co-founder of the website Midnight Eye and has published two books on director Miike Takashi and one on Tsukamoto Shinya. He also co-authored The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film. As a film critic he has contributed to publications suchn as Film Comment, Sight and Sound, Rue Morgue, De Filmkrant, Kateigaho and many others. He has provided liner notes and audio commentaries for numerous DVD and blu-ray releases of Japanese films. As a screenwriter Tom worked on Shinji Imaoka’s pink musical “Underwater Love” (“Onna no Kappa”) and as an actor he can be seen in Kiki Sugino’s “Taksu” (“Yokudo”).


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Further reading

Horror to the Extreme: Changing Boundaries in Asian Cinema (2009), Jinhee Choi and Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano, Hong Kong University Press

Revival van de Japanse Film (2002), Luk Van Haute, Amsterdam University Press / Salome

Shadow Economies of Cinema: Mapping Informal Film Distribution (2012), Ramon Lobato, British Film Institute

Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike (2003), Tom Mes, Godalming: FAB Press

Re-Agitator: A Decade of Writing on Takashi Miike (2013), Tom Mes, Godalming: FAB Press

The End of Japanese Cinema: Industrial Genres, National Times, and Media Ecologies (2017), Alexander Zahlten, Duke University Press

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