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Grandma's Grammar Programme 2: Refusals of the Given
Institute of Contemporary Arts
A Grasscutter’s Tale | 草とり草紙, dir. Fukuda Katsuhiko, Japan 1985.

Grandma’s Grammar traces the persistence of the figure of the grandmother as locus of feminist historicity in non-fiction film, considering the grandmother as cinematic medium and privileged subject for modelling alternative modes of storytelling, inter-generational genealogies, and archives of memory and lived experience. Drawing together works by Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Tânia Dinis, Katsuhiko Fukuda, Barbara Hammer, Utako Koguchi, Cecilia Mangini, Gunvor Nelson, Margaret Rorison, Chiemi Shimada, Emilija Škarnulytė, Khady & Mariama Sylla, Ana Elena Tejera and Naomi Uman, the grandmother comes into view as nexus and prism of cinematic possibility, sodality and solidarity, and an ethics of kinship within, and beyond, relation.

A Grasscutter’s Tale | 草とり草紙 
Fukuda Katsuhiko / 1985 / Japan / 88’ / 16mm / Japanese, English subtitles 
Katsuhiko Fukuda’s portrait of Grandmother Katsu Someya documents the indomitable voice of an elderly peasant farmer (born in 1899) who worked land designated for redevelopment for the construction of Narita airport. Someya participated in the Sanrizuka protests, a resistance movement of farmers and workers, that was documented in a series of films by the Ogawa Productions filmmaking collective, of which Fukuda was a member until 1977. Someya continued resisting, a defiance that extended to private life, as she lived alone after separating from her family. Fukuda, who remained in Sanrizuka, had moved to making “cinematic notebooks” on 8mm. He shot the film with his partner Hatano Yukie, who aided in production, editing, and shooting, as well as making the title cards that announce the film’s nineteen sections. In the immediacy of its handheld techniques and intimate observational style, the film unfolds as a filmic storybook of Someya’s yarns, marked by a spirit of enduring refusal. Profound in its modest scale, A Grasscutter’s Tale’s insists on Someya’s integral self-inscription, in her own terms.    

Curated and presented in collaboration with Ricardo Matos Cabo.
Special thanks to Hatano Yukie.

With an introduction by Elena Gorfinkel and Ricardo Matos Cabo
03:00 pm
Sat, 27 Apr 2024
Cinema 1

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