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Chris Fujiwara

Chris Fujiwara

Chris Fujiwara is a film critic and programmer, born in New York. He has written several books on cinema, including Jacques Tourneur: The Cinema of Nightfall (2001), The World and Its Double: The Life and Work of Otto Preminger (2007), and Jerry Lewis (2008). He also edited the book Defining Moments in Movies (2007). He has contributed to numerous anthologies and journals and was the editor of Undercurrent (2006-2011), the film-criticism magazine of FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics). He has lectured on film aesthetics and film history at Tokyo University, Yale University, Rhode Island School of Design, and elsewhere. From 2012 to 2014 he was Artistic Director of Edinburgh International Film Festival, and he has also developed film programs for Athénée Français Cultural Center (Tokyo), Jeonju International Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Mar del Plata Film Festival, and other institutions. He is one of the founders of the Film Criticism Collective, in collaboration with the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, and has organized or served as a mentor for film criticism workshops at the Berlinale, at the International Film Festival of Kerala, and elsewhere.

City I call home: Tokyo

Twitter handle: @ChrisFujiwara

Facebook page:

Type of cinema I am most passionate about:

Auteur cinema—cinema that expresses the thoughts and attitudes of a filmmaker with regard to the real world, including cinema itself.

A film that changed me/my mind is...:

I would mention two films, Nicholas Ray’s The Lusty Men and Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet’s Dalle nube alla resistenza (From the Cloud to the Resistance), which were important to me in demonstrating that cinema is will, imagination, and poetry at work within a concrete time and space.

Cinema excites me most when:

The madness inherent in any artistic manipulation of space and time is most inescapably manifest.

My career highlight was when:

I interviewed Jerry Lewis for my book about him.

The future of film criticism:

Lies in anticipating the forms that filmmakers will proceed to invent.

Film criticism is important because:

It develops a dialogue about cinema that is not dominated by the entertainment function or the commerce of cinema.

The film I'm most looking forward to at MIFF is:

Jarmusch’s Stooges documentary, Gimme Danger. The other day I watched video clips of Iggy on the Dinah Shore Show in 1977, talking with Dinah and singing “Fun Time,” and it reminded me how much we need Iggy now.