Pro Arts Cinema Matinees curated by Tooth:
A program of Japanese experimental films produced in the 1970s. This collection was assembled by Takahiko Iimura and first exhibited at the Millennium Film Workshop circa 1978.
“The proclamation of sensibility was the pronounced feature unifying the disparate films [in this program]: this sensibility is one dedicated to an acceptance of irony as an aesthetic integer. Seeming to duplicate the formal devices of ‘the structural film’, these films develop along a distinct principle of gratification.” – Daryl Chin, “The Future of an Illusion (ism): Notes on the New Japanese Avant-Garde Film,” Millennium Film Journal 1:2 (Spring-Summer, 1978), 87.
KIRI (Sakumi Hagiwara, 1972), 8 min.
A fixed camera photographs a fog-shrouded landscape. At first the screen appears almost totally white, but gradually the features begin to reveal themselves. Shot without the aid of time-lapse photography, the film bears a conscious resemblance to sumi-e paintings.
ORANDA-JIN NO SHASHIN (Photograph of the Dutch) (Isao Koda, 1976), 7 min.
Beginning with photographs of his own feet wading in a stream. Koda first establishes a labyrinthian ‘photo within a photo’ theme, then presents several variations involving speed, order, number of images, and color.
SYNC SOUND (Takahiko Iimura, 1975), 9 min.
Following the order of the academy’s synchronization leader which is used for picture and sound to sync, the film adopts the system for its own order (or may be fallen out of order). Instead of using the order normal way which goes counting the numbers 10 to 3 to match at 0 the picture with the sound, the film replaces the number one by one to single dot sound which expected to be read by the viewer to have the imaginary synchronization. The film repeats until all the numbers are replaced by the sounds.
LUMIERE (Tsuneo Nakai, 1971), 3 min.
A single shot of the sea, played with an synchronized soundtrack and made to change in color.
FEEDBACK (Nobuhiro Kawanaka, 1973), 8 min.
Photographs of a nude, arranged into stop-motion sequences on the left half of the screen, are juxtaposed with a close-up of the film itself passing in front of a viewer, gradually revealed on the right half of the screen. Again we are confronted with the basic conundrum that a moving series of still pictures creates the illusion of movement within the pictures themselves.
10 SEC. (Ryoichi Enomoto, 1973), 8 min.
A single ten-second sequence by a dancer has been photographed at several speeds, which are then replayed at different speeds with freezes and multiple exposures added. The short French phrases that appear between sequences are merely conjunctions and connectives, such as ‘but what if,’ ‘and then,’ etc. Here , as in ‘Le Cinema,’ the nature of motion captured on film is interpreted through dissection and reconstruction.
OBSERVATION (Hiroshi Yamazaki, 1975), 10 min.
The film is composed of two sequences: 1) A simple scene of a street corner taken from a window is given the appearance of dawn, then illumination, then blinding light through the use of a single gradual filter change; 2) Shots of the position of the midday sun on 27 consecutive days, taken through a dense day-for-night filter, are superimposed, creating an eerie arc of heavenly bodies.
ATMAN (Toshio Masumoto, 1975), 11 min
The title is a Hindu term meaning the World Soul from which all souls derive, or more simply, a principle of life. Matsumoto tried to ‘create’ a microcosm (with a devil figure at the center), by dividing a field into 10 equidistant concentric circles, marking 48 equidistant points on the circumference of each circle, and shooting the ‘devil’ from the resulting 480 angles.