Opening Statement-Laurence Kardish

Opening Statement-Laurence Kardish


Aug. 25, 2010

Dear Citizens of Nara and Distinguished Visitors ---

I am deeply honored to have been asked to serve as Head of the Jury of the First International Nara Film Festival, and very moved to be in this extraordinary place where 1300 years ago, as the new capital city, Nara became the seedbed for the arts that would blossom into the distinct culture of Japan.  It is most exciting, indeed, to be part of the initiative that identifies the most modern of the arts, the moving-image, with the wealth of arts in this venerated city.

It is also appropriate, that this project was conceived by a filmmaker, Ms. Naomi Kawase, whose roots are in this city, and whose sensibility is poetic.  Kawase's films are admired around the world for their humanity, their special beauty, and her images of Nara and its environs.

I congratulate Kawase, Mr.Kiyokazu Washida, Chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the Nara International Film Festival, and all members of the Organizing Committee for establishing a rapport between the superlatives of Nara and recent achievements of the moving- image.  I know that Nara has the oldest and largest wooden structures in the world, the largest bronze sculpture as well, and the largest public park in Japan.  What I also learned was the world's oldest printed material - strips of paper with prayers from the Hyakuman pagodas - were published here in 764, which suggests that in Nara's DNA lies the desire and ability to communicate, and reach out to  the outside world.  Film festivals act as a great communicator bringing together in a friendly cultural way different ideas and different ideas,   enriching an understanding of the world for anyone attending the festival, and bringing Nara to the attention of those who love cinema over the world. Let me express my hope this festival will be the first of many, inaugurating Nara as a site where present and future generations will come to look at,  enjoy, and treasure new films.

Jury President
Laurence Kardish
Senior Curator of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York



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