Beyond Security: Approaches toward a Cinema of Okinawa. Part I

Beyond Security: Approaches toward a Cinema of Okinawa. Part I

Chikako Yamashiro, Mud Man (still), 2017.

Beyond Security: Approaches toward a Cinema of Okinawa. Part I

Admission starts at $5

Get tickets
April 25, 2024, 7pm
Add to Calendar
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Join us at e-flux Screening Room on Thursday, April 25 at 7pm for the first part of Beyond Security, a special three-part screening that engages with Japan’s Okinawa prefecture—its history, identity, and complicated relationship to legacies of wartime and imperialism. Guest-curated by Hallie Ayres, the series consists of a range of films that trouble the impulse to speak for the prefecture, instead allowing for an archipelagic polyvocality that champions Okinawans’ right to self-define.

For Part I of Beyond Security, films by Chikako Yamashiro, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, and Chris Marker frame Okinawa through, and in light of, the imposition of occupying military infrastructures. These works not only highlight the palimpsest of forces that have determined Okinawa’s present relationship to its autonomy (or lack thereof), but also underscore the networked relationship between Okinawa and its geographic neighbors who have withstood (and still withstand) similarly violent incursions. The films implicitly call for a renegotiation of the amnesia that has allowed for the continued assault on those territories and peoples embroiled in imperialism’s wide net.

Parts II and III, which take place at e-flux Screening Room on Saturday, April 27, will feature films by Go Takamine and Futoshi Miyagi. A parallel screening of Go Takamine’s Paradise View (1985, 113 minutes) will be held at Spectacle Theater, our Beyond Security program partner.


Chikako Yamashiro, Mud Man (2017, 26 minutes)
Mud Man by Chikako Yamashiro is set on Okinawa and South Korea’s Jeju Island, two locations at the center of local controversies surrounding the presence of the United States military. A combination of unclear Japanese (Uchinaaguchi), fragments and mumbles in Korean, and onomatopoeic sound effects complement a narrative that juxtaposes the landscapes of the two islands. The film tells the story of a community visited by bird droppings that resemble clumps of mud falling from the sky. These droppings awaken the slumbering people, who pick up the clumps to listen to voices that speak of history and inheritance, nature, and other communities. The work continues Yamashiro’s interest in employing flesh and earth as metaphors to personify the political body of Okinawa. It deals metaphorically with the complexity of history, while addressing the layers contained within a territory through a distinct physicality. The film concludes with a final montage that, mixing war reminiscences with beatbox rhythms, is hard to forget.

Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas: Battle of Easel Point–Memorial Project Okinawa (2003, 15 minutes)
Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba’s Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas: Battle of Easel Point–Memorial Project Okinawa layers Okinawa’s history as the site of a crucial battle during World War II, with its use as a training ground for American troops during the Vietnam War. In the film, scuba divers battle with easels and yellow paint, struggling to create portraits of Hollywood actors who starred in glamorized films about the Vietnam War. Shot in the sea near the US military base on teh island of Okinawa—which had to suffer US occupation from the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 until its return to Japan in 1972—the film, in its title, refers to a carpet-bombing campaign launched on North Vietnam by President Nixon around the Christmas holidays in 1972. The element of futility that characterizes the scuba divers’ mission, of course, can be extrapolated to various episodes within military history.

Chris Marker, Level Five (1997, 106 minutes)
A woman (Laura), a computer, an invisible interlocutor: such is the setup on which Chris Marker’s Level Five is built. She “inherits” a task: to finish writing a video game centered on the Battle of Okinawa—a tragedy practically unknown in the West, but whose development played a decisive role in the way World War II ended, as well as in postwar times and even our present. A strange game, in fact. Contrary to classical strategy games whose purpose is to turn back the tide of history, this one seems willing only to reproduce history as it happened. While working on Okinawa and meeting a rather unusual network of informants and even eye-witnesses to the battle (including film director Nagisa Oshima), Laura gathers pieces of the tragedy, until they start to interfere with her own life.

For more information, contact program [​at​]

– Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.
– For elevator access, please RSVP to The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.
– e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Film, War & Conflict, Colonialism & Imperialism
Japan, Militarization, Video Games

Chikako Yamashiro engages with political and social histoires of Okinawa to create haunting works drawing on oral accounts. Her work reveals lesser-known aspects of Okinawa’s contemporary reality, while questioning dominant historical accounts of the Japanese and American occupation of the islands. The site of fierce battles between the US and Japan at the end of World War II, Okinawa still has a high concentration of American military bases, occupying around twenty percent of the land, despite the wishes of many native Okinawans. Yamashiro’s work spans performance, filmmaking, and photography, employing bodies as vehicles through which to carry marginalized Okinawan stories through uniquely poetic imaginings.

Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba was born in Tokyo to a Vietnamese father and a Japanese mother. Growing up and educated in Japan and the USA, he earned his BFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago in 1992 and then his MFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art in 1994. After eighteen years of working in Vietnam, he is now residing and creating artworks in Houston, Texas.

Chris Marker (1921-2012) was a cinematic essayist and audio-visual poet. After World War II, he worked as a writer, publishing his first book, Le coeur net, in 1949. In the 1950s, he turned to documentary filmmaking; among his many significant works from this period are Letter from Siberia, Cuba Si!, La Jetée, and Le Joli Mai. In the 1960s and 1970s, Marker was involved with SLON, a filmmaking collective dedicated to activist productions. He began making films under his own name again in 1977 with A Grin Without A Cat. During the ’80s and ’90s, Marker’s work included several films about fellow filmmakers, including One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich (1999), an homage to his friend Andrei Tarkovsky. He also explored video and computer-generated imagery with a continued emphasis on the intersection between personal and political themes in films such as The Case of the Grinning Cat. An original voice in world cinema for over fifty years, Marker passed away on his 91st birthday, on July 29, 2012.

Hallie Ayres was on the curatorial team for the 14th Shanghai Biennale, Cosmos Cinema, and is associate director of e-flux.

RSVP for Beyond Security: Approaches toward a Cinema of Okinawa.…

Thank you for your RSVP.

will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.