Heritage and the Politics of Culture
The first Japanese filmmaker to work in Spain was probably Hiroshi Teshigahara, who visited Catalonia in 1959 to shot Antonio Gaudi in 16mm, although it this documentary film was released in 1984. It is a bold proposal just featuring landscapes with Gaudi’s buildings. Hiroshi’s father, Sōfū Teshigahara, had developed a strong connection with Catalan artists and it is possible that Teshigahara edited Antonio Gaudí as a homage to his father, who had died in 1979. However, scholars have neglected the film’s relation to the avant-garde documentary movement and the theoretical discussions of the time in which it had been shot. During the fifties, Hiroshi Teshigahara and Susumu Hani led a theoretical and practical approach to documentary film seeking to explore alternative subjectivities through author’s “self-negation” (jikohitei). They anticipated the scepticism towards the “subject” (shutai) in their collective work Tokyo 1958 (Teshigahara, Hani, et al., 1958), comprised exclusively of urban landscapes of the Japanese capital. This film inaugurated a tendency in Japanese documentary consisting of films without protagonists. This presentation intends to contribute to the insight into the Spanish-Japanese relations through cinema, by rediscovering Antonio Gaudí through an innovative approach: the film is contextualised in relation to the theories and developments taking place when it was made, to illustrate its role in the avant-garde documentary movement of the time.