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Portland Premiere: Edo Avant Garde, a film by Linda Hoaglund

Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden and Portland State University are co-hosting the Portland premiere screening of a compelling documentary film, Edo Avant Garde.

During the Edo era (1603‒1868), Japanese artists innovated many strategies to bring the natural world and its creatures to life. To animate trees, puppies, waves, and clouds they incorporated asymmetry, abstraction, stylization, and empty space—techniques that profoundly influenced modern art in the West. In Linda Hoaglund’s film Edo Avant Garde, she explores the origins of Japanese artists’ creative efflorescence by filming some of the most closely-guarded Edo-era masterpieces in museum and private collections across the U.S. and Japan, unraveling how artists hundreds of years ago in one of the world’s most isolated countries captured the natural world in strikingly unique ways.  

The film’s exquisite cinematography by Japanese Academy Award-winner Norimichi Kasamatsu and outstanding original soundtrack by Satoshi Takeishi and Shoko Nagai present a remarkable, immersive experience of the Edo era’s byobu, folding screens.  Simultaneously dynamic and mesmerizing, at its heart, Edo Avant Garde offers a unique opportunity to look closely and see how radically different Japanese art emerged in the 17th century. 

Run time: 83 minutes

After the premiere, join the filmmaker for a discussion and Q&A session.

Please note that the event location is at Portland State University’s Lincoln Recital Hall.

*Reservations are being managed by Portland State University, using Eventbrite. Reservations are free and open to anyone, but registration through Eventbrite is required. Portland Japanese Garden membership accounts are not connected to Eventbrite, but if you have difficulty registering please contact

About the Film Maker

Linda Hoaglund is a bilingual filmmaker born and raised in Japan. The daughter of American missionary parents, she attended Japanese public schools and graduated from Yale University. She has directed and produced five feature-length films about art and the relationship between Japan and the U.S.: Wings of Defeat (2007), ANPO: Art X War (2010), Things Left Behind (2012), The Wound and The Gift (2014), and Edo Avant Garde (2019). Most recently, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art created a K-12 Arts Curriculum inspired by Edo Avant Garde with Hoaglund.  

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Hoaglund has also subtitled 250 Japanese films, including Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa and Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki. She has translated Kabuki performed at Lincoln Center and essays by Issei Miyake, Ishiuchi Miyako, Tomatsu Shomei, Yokoo Tadanori, Kirino Natsuo, Moriyama Daido, Takashi Murakami, Ando Tadao and other renowned artists and writers. In 2022, Chronicle Books published Just Enough Design, a book featuring designer Taku Satoh’s work that she edited and translated.


This program is brought to you by the Japan Institute of Portland Japanese Garden in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Portland State University.