Field Work: Ogawa Productions as Farmer-Filmmakers

Voelcker, Becca. 2021. Field Work: Ogawa Productions as Farmer-Filmmakers. The Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ), 10(1-2), pp. 50-71. ISSN 2045-6298 [Article]

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This article considers the value of the leftist filmmaking collective Ogawa Productions’ interdisciplinary practice, which combined filmmaking and farming as an activist project of advocacy for social and environmental justice in 1980s Japan. It argues that Ogawa Pro, as the collective was known, integrated agriculture and film culture to construct a radically inclusive ecosystemic understanding of humans, plants, animals and the climate. Viewed today, their approach exemplifies an early model of ecological thinking that speaks to the recent multispecies turn in the arts, humanities and social sciences. But Ogawa Pro’s turn to the land is also riddled with ambivalence: the films harbour agrarian romanticism bordering on a politics of nostalgia and ethnic environmentalism. Torn between what we might today call progressive and reactionary traditionalist politics, Ogawa Pro’s enmeshed filming and farming practices constitute an important example of what I call Land Cinema – that is, film entangled in territorial, ecological and aesthetic aspects of land. Though the collective’s earlier and more militant films have received critical acclaim in recent years, its later land-based work merits further attention for the way it exposes political tensions over how to cultivate, represent and share space responsibly.

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© 2021 Intellect Ltd . The definitive, peer reviewed and edited version of this article is published in [The Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ) 10, 1-2, 50-71, 2021,


Land, multispecies ecology, Leftism, Japan, agriculture, documentary, Ogawa Pro, social and environmental justice, ethics of care

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1 September 2021Published

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Date Deposited:

06 Feb 2023 10:37

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07 Feb 2023 08:58

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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