12 June 2014

The Connecting Bridge (架け橋, 2013)



Japan has the most advanced early warning system for earthquakes and tsunami in the world, but that did not prevent 15,885 people from losing their lives in Tōhoku following the fifth largest earthquake ever recorded.  Many of these fatalities were caused by inadequate local knowledge (see: Reiko Hasegawa, IDDRI) and poor communication (See: S. Fraser, et al., Report). 

While the triple disaster of 3/11 was terrifying enough for the hearing population of Japan, imagine how exponentially more terrifying it must have been for the deaf community.  It was exactly this thought that spurred deaf documentarian Ayako Imamura (Studio Aya) to pick up her camera and drive to Miyagi Prefecture to find out how the deaf community was coping in the aftermath of the earthquake/tsunami.  Her first stop was the Miyagi Deaf Association, led by Shoju Koizumi, who from their headquarters in Sendai immediately sprang into action to assist their 363 members. 


Imamura focuses her documentary film The Connecting Bridge: 3/11 That Wasn’t Heard (架け橋~聞こえなかった3.11 / Kakehashi - Kikoenakatta 3.11, 2013) on the heart-rending stories of some of those members who survived.  Although many of them had received warnings of the imminent earthquake on their cellphones, in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake cellular communication went out of service.  Not only was this means of communication cut off, but deaf people were also unable to hear the tsunami warning sirens.  This meant that only those people who had thoughtful and concerned neighbours and family members were able to evacuate. 

In Iwanuma City, Imamura meets Teruo Sai and his wife, Naoko Sai, who for forty years have run a barbershop about 2 kilometres from the ocean.  The clock in their barbershop has stopped at the time of the earthquake.  Their shop is covered in mud and debris from the tsunami.  The Sais were unable to hear the announcements and by the time they realised that the tsunami was upon them it was too late to evacuate to the elementary school because the water was already rushing down the street.   Fortunately, they were able to survive on the second floor of their house. 



The Sais’ friends, Nobuko Kikuchi and her husband Tokichi Kikuchi, lost their home altogether.  All that remains is the foundation.  If their hearing neighbours had not taken the time to warn them, the Kikuchis would likely have perished along with their home.  The couple now live in an evacuation shelter.  As they are the only deaf people in the shelter, they find it very stressful because they never understand what is going on.  It soon becomes evident that the biggest communication problem is that the deaf are often too shy – or in a very Japanese way unwilling to inconvenience others – to let people know what their special needs are.  As deafness is not a visible disability, the hearing community often does not notice that there is a communication failure. 

I was reminded while watching The Connecting Bridge of something Marlee Matlin, the Oscar-winning deaf actress once said: “I hope I inspire people who hear. Hearing people have the ability to remove barriers that prevent deaf people from achieving their dreams.” (Source: Business Week, May 22, 2001).  This also appears to be the mission of Ayako Imamura, who hopes that by telling the stories of deaf people to inspire hearing people to take notice and to help build bridges between the hearing and the deaf communities. 

Imamura is not an objective filmmaker but a subjective one who really cares about the people she is filming.  The strong bond that she develops with the subjects of her film becomes evident when Mrs. Kikuchi becomes overwhelmed with emotion and Imamura steps in to embrace her.  The confusion and fear felt by these survivors is truly moving – particularly the story of Enao Kato, an elderly gentleman who never learned how to read during his wartime childhood.  This means that he is unable to read the instruction manuals for his new property in the evacuation shelter until Mr. Koizumi comes to assist him.



Koizumi is the strongest “connecting bridge” in this film, which is why it is so tragic in the middle of the film when he is struck down by a stroke.  His determination to recover from his stroke so that he can return to helping others in his community is truly inspiring.  The small acts of kindness depicted in the film, from the young volunteers trying to learn basic signs, to the barbershop customer who waits for the Sais to reopen before getting his hair cut again, are a reminder of how little it takes to reach out to others in our own neighbourhoods to make them feel understood and valued.  Not only can thinking of the needs of others spread good will, but when disaster strikes it can also save lives. 


Notes from the Q+A with Ayako Imamura (post-screening at Nippon Connection 2014)

  • Imamura bonded with Koizumi, the head of the Miyagi Deaf Association, over a shared love of beer.  It also turned out that Koizumi’s hearing daughter is the exact same age as Imamura and Koizumi himself is the same age as Imamura’s own father, so they bonded over this coincidence as well.
  • Regarding the soundtrack:  someone asked why she had used a male narrator when she, the director, is female.  Imamura responded that she chose a male narrator because the central story for her was that of Koizumi.  His own personal story begins and ends the film, and without him she would never had met the people he and the Miyagi Deaf Association were assisting. 
  • Regarding the music:  The closing of the film features the song “Not Alone” (1人じゃない / Hitori ja nai) by Kazuhiro Kojima quite prominently.  Imamura chose this song because she liked the lyrics so much and felt that they fit the message she was trying to get across with her film.  [It did not come up in the Q+A but I should note that Kazuhiro Kojima wrote the song “Not Alone” for the survivors of the Tōhoku disaster so its meaning resonates quite deeply for a Japanese audience (See: Vimeo).  Kojima is also the male narrator of the film.]
  • Imamura’s film training in the States was actually on film, so she taught herself how to use digital technology. 
  • Imamura expressed her fear of communicating with people who do not know how to sign.  Through her documentaries she has learned from other members of the deaf community about how to overcome these fears.  In particular, she mentioned how inspirational Tatsuro Ota, the surf shop owner who was the subject of her documentary Coffee and Pencil (珈琲とエンピツ, 2011) has been to her in the way that he builds communication bridges between himself and his hearing customers. 
  • Imamura’s current documentary project will profile a deaf family. 


Interview with Ayako Imamura


After the Q+A at Nippon Connection 2014, I had a chance to interview Imamura with the assistance of American ASL interpreter Joanna Martin who was flown in from Berlin for The Connecting Bridge’s German premiere.  You can see the amazing Joanna at work on YouTube interpreting an event with Berlin-based American author Michael Lederer into DGS (German Sign Language / Deutsche Gebärdensprache).  Imamura’s mother was also on hand for assistance with JSL (Japanese Sign Language /日本手話 / Nihon Shuwa).  15 years ago, Imamura spent a year studying filmmaking in the States and learned ASL while she was there (there were no courses in ASL available to her in Japan at that time).  She teaches at a school for the deaf in Japan which has close ties with a school in Manitoba (Anglophone Canadians also use ASL).

Having grown up in Canada with co-workers and Easter Seals campers whose primary language was ASL, I was full of questions for Imamura about the differences between North American and Japanese deaf culture.  Some interesting facts:
  • Japan was slow to introduce universal education for its deaf population.  As a result, many elderly people did not learn to read and write or to do standard JSL until later in life.  Although Imamura was fuzzy on the dates, she had the impression that until about 30 years ago it was challenging for deaf people to receive a full education. 
  • When Imamura went to university, it was difficult for her to get assistance with note-taking, etc.  This was in stark contrast to her experience at California State University, Northridge, which has a strong deaf community (they are home to the National Center on Deafness).  Her experience in the United States seemed to inspire her to fight for more rights in Japan.  I noticed on the website of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf that sign language did not get officially recognized as a language by the Japanese federal government until 2011!! 
  • When Imamura was growing up in the 1980s, closed captioned was not yet available for the deaf community.  As a result, she was bored by anime and other television series because she did not understand what was going on.  Her saving grace was the introduction of video technology.  Although most foreign films and series shown on TV in Japan are dubbed, they have a subbing culture for cinema.  Imamura’s father picked up E.T. (1982) from the video store for her when she was little and she loved it.  Her early movie education was mainly foreign films because they were the only ones with subtitles when she was growing up.  The irony was not lost on Imamura that her native land’s movie and television culture was foreign to her because they did not use closed captioning.
  • Modern technology (e-mail, text messaging, etc. has made communication between the deaf and hearing communities a lot easier but there is a major generation gap for elderly people who find new technology challenging.   Many of them still use faxes for long distance communication. 
  • It was clear from the context in The Connecting Bridge that Imamura would have come into contact with the stories of many of the Miyagi Deaf Association’s 363 members, so I asked her how she selected which people to use in the documentary.  She told me that she focused on the stories of survivors.  A lot of deaf people did not survive the disaster and the grief of their families was too fresh for her to intrude on their lives.  There were also many survivors who felt uncomfortable with the presence of a camera / a stranger documenting their difficult circumstances.  So, the people that feature in the films were the ones who opened themselves up to Imamura --- I could really feel when watching the film that the director came to care for the individuals she was recording, and that this friendship would likely continue after the film was done.
  • The subtitles are very prominent in this film.  Imamura chose white with black outline for the narrator.  Blue with white outline is used when men are speaking and red with white outline when women are speaking. 

The Connecting Bridge: 3/11 That Wasn’t Heard
架け橋~聞こえなかった3.11
Kakehashi - Kikoenakatta 3.11
Studio Aya, 74 min.


Catherine Munroe Hotes 2014


11 June 2014

RongRong & Inri’s "Tsumari Story" at Mizuma Art Gallery



June 11 (Wed.) - July 12 (Sat.) 2014/ 11:00-19:00
closed on Sun. Mon. and Holidays

Opening this evening, Mizuma Art Gallery is presenting a solo exhibition of the Chinese-Japanese artistic team RongRong & Inri (荣荣和映里). 

RongRong (b. 1968) is a Chinese photographer from Fujian Province who made a name for himself in the 1990s for his portraits of life in the East Village of Beijing.  Inri (b. 1973), who is from Kanagawa, began her career as a portrait photographer for a Japanese newspaper before pursuing an independent career starting in 1997.  Since meeting in 2000, this husband and wife team have become known for their collaborations together. 

RongRong & Inri are based in Beijing but have exhibited their work together worldwide. In 2007, they established the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing’s Caochangdi District - the first private art centre in China dedicated to photography. They continue to be at the centre of Beijing’s photographic art world.  For example, since 2010 they have been organizers of the Caochangdi PhotoSpring Festival in collaboration with Arles International Photography Festival in Southern France. In recent years they have also held numerous exhibitions in Japan: they held a solo show at Shiseido Gallery (2011), participated in the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale (2012), and their works have also been acclaimed as part of last years ‘LOVE’ exhibition at the Mori Art Museum and in the collection exhibition of Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.

This exhibition will revisit work shown in 2012 at Echigo-Tsumari, with the addition of new pieces created this year. In Tsumari Story they will use experimental forms of prints to exhibit their work. If one compares the location of Tsumari in Niigata Prefecture, adjacent to the Sea of Japan, this is a region markedly different to the Pacific Ocean side of the country. Perhaps because its transport network was comparatively late to upgrade, it has somewhat escaped the homogenization effected by globalization. Even today, the unique characteristics of its culture remain prominent. During its long winters, large volumes of white snow may totally cut off road access. There, time flows according to its own rhythm, allowing for the creation of unique stories.

It has been suggested that the origin of the name of this mountainous region of Niigata lies in the phrase “dontzumari” (meaning ‘dead end’, or ‘impasse’), which takes it beyond a place name to being an aspect of Japanese culture - or possibly a symbol for the whole of Japan, existing as a chain of islands surrounded by the sea. “It is only once you have escaped everything and you reach the final impasse, that you find the love you were searching for”: this artwork was created in a place in which such folklore as this remains.  As such, in today’s ever-shrinking world of increasing homogenization, perhaps this work bears the power to leave behind a unique and deep impression.

In the encounter of a man and woman and their children, RongRong & Inri’s photographs have at the centre of their creative process “the circle of life”.  Within their tales, perhaps we may feel a premonition of the future that is to come. In this age of growing awareness of the land on which we live, the Mizuma Art Gallery warmly invites you to view the exhibition of RongRong & Inri’s story.

This post is an edited version of a press release by Mizuma Art Gallery.  For more on Rong Rong & Inri see their profile on Art Speak China.


cmmhotes 2014

10 June 2014

The Sakuramoto Broom Workshop (櫻本箒製作所, 2012)


When I first moved to Japan from Canada in 2000, I was struck by the prevalence of traditional brooms made of straw or reeds used not only in homes but by city workers cleaning the streets.  Called “hōki” (/ほうき), hand-made brooms of bamboo reed and millet straw are considered the best way to clean tatami mats.  Due to modernisation, broom-making workshops have become rarer, but there are still many people who continue this traditional handicraft.  In her graduate film from Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai class of 2012), animator Aya Tsugehata chose the setting of a traditional broom-making workshop.

   
The Sakuramoto Broom Workshop (櫻本箒製作所 / Sakuramoto Hōki Seisakusho, 2012), like Tsugehata’s first year Geidai film Imamura Store (今村商店 / Imamura shōten, 2011) – click here to read my review of it – is based on a real space and the artisans who work and live there.  In fact, at Nippon Connection 2013, Prof. Mitsuko Okamoto described Tsugehata’s puppet animation as examples of “animation documentary” because of her use of documentary recorded sound.  The Sakuramoto Broom Workshop is based on the workshop of the same name which is run by the elderly couple Kakutarō and Setsuko Sakuramoto.  There is no dialogue in this film, but the sound effects were recorded in their workshop as well as in Murai’s Broom Works and Yoneda’s Broom Shop. 

The age of the Sakuramotos is established before we even see Tsugehata’s puppets of them by a series of shots showing the absence of modern conveniences in the workshop.  An ancient electric stand-alone electric heater, a traditional tray bearing tea for two, a pair of zabuton (floor cushions) are the meagre creature comforts in this traditional Japanese space.  Outside, brooms lean against the building, drying in the sun.  Inside, the husband and wife face each other on the barren wood floor, kneeling on zabuton as they work.  The wife makes small bundles of straw, tightening them with a rope and tying them together with a short piece of wire.  Her husband then takes these bundles and weaves them into the shape of a broom using thread to bind them. 



There is a sense of harmony between these two individuals and one senses that they have sat here for decades, performing these daily tasks.  They work with the ease and steadiness of experts, until the husband notices a subtle difference in his wife’s performance.  Glancing down, he notices that one of the bundles is not as neatly done as the others, as if his wife had struggled with the task.  Later that night, the wife wanders out of her bed in their neighbouring home and back into the workshop.  Concerned for her well-being, the husband follows to find her back at work binding straw.  One can deduce from the subtle visual storytelling that the wife is likely suffering from the early signs of dementia.  The film expresses a feeling of melancholy that this couple’s productive life together is entering its twilight years. 

Tsugehata’s style of storytelling is reminiscent of that of the legendary filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu in its use of a series of cutaways to tell the story not only of the characters themselves, but also of the Japanese space.  Like Ozu, many shots are taken from a low angle, such as the view of the woman from behind as she kneels on the floor.  I was reminded of Tokyo Story (1953), in particular, in the way that Tsugehata depicts harmony between an elderly husband and wife.  In doing online research for this post, I discovered a short interview with Tsugehata in the run-up to graduation in 2012, where she says that she “finally saw the works of Yasujiro Ozu” in the past year.  There is no context or follow-up question to this, but it suggests that someone must have recommended Ozu to her.  Her first year Geidai film, Imamura Store, was shot in a similar way, but I have not seen any of the work she did as an undergraduate so it is hard to judge if she naturally adopted an Ozu-like aesthetic before seeing his work.  As Ozu’s aesthetic was, for him, a practical response to shooting Japanese spaces, it is highly possible that Tsugehata did the same.  It seems likely that seeing Ozu’s work may have helped her to hone her cinematographic approach to these spaces further.  Tsugehata’s use of puppet animation to record people and spaces from her hometown is certainly unique and I very much look forward to seeing more work from her. 



This is an auteurist work in that Tsugehata not only directed the films, but also designed the puppets, sets, lighting, wrote the screenplay, did the cinematography, and edited the film herself.  Music was composed for the film by Keisuke Kimoto and the sound design was by Choi Woong.

Aya Tsugehata (告畑綾, b. 1987) is an up-and-coming stop motion animator from Saitama Prefecture.  She graduated from Tama Art University in 2010 and then continued to develop her puppet animation skills under the supervision of Yūichi Itō (伊藤有壱, b.1962) at Tokyo University of the Arts. This film can be found on the DVD Geidai Animation: 3rd Graduate Works 2012.  See behind-the-scenes photos at the Geidai 03 Talk blog and learn more about traditional Japanese broom-making at Tokyo Chuo Net.

Catherine Munroe Hotes 2014

08 June 2014

Geidai Animation: 5th Graduate Works 2014 (DVD)


Geidai Animation: 5th Graduate Works 2014 (DVD)
東京藝術大学大学院映像研究科アニメーション専攻第五期生修了作品集 2014

Koji Yamamura’s presentation of a selection of animated shorts by the Tokyo University of Arts (aka Geidai) Animation Department’s graduating class of 2014 at Nippon Connection was sold out – to the extent that festival volunteers were sitting on the steps so that they could watch as well.  Many people on social media have told me that they wish that they, too, could have been there.  Luckily, the Geidai DVD of their 5th year of graduate works is now available to order online.   



The class of 2014 was taught by Professors Yuichi Ito (stop motion animator), Mitsuko Okamoto (animation producer), Koji Yamamura (multi-award winning independent animator and Oscar nominee), and Taruto Fuyama (animator, stop motion software developer).  Animator Hiromitsu Murakami is an Assistant Professor in the programme and Ilan Nguyen is a lecturer.  Hiroki Kono (Geidai 2011), Yuanyuan Hu (Geidai 2012), and Yuichi Matsumoto provided additional assistance.  Sound instructors for the films were Tatsuhko Nishioka, Toru Kamekawa, Yuichi Kishino, and Hiroshi Takayama.



Once again, Geidai has a diverse group of animators from all over Japan and overseas (China, South Korea).  They also represent a wide cross section of styles including stop motion, drawn, mixed media, experimental, and computer animation.  The standard of animation demonstrated by the Geidai graduates is once again very high.  Two stand outs for me are Yantong Zhu from Nanjing, who in her graduate work My Milk Cup Cow tells a deeply moving personal story (read my review) with beautifully rendered animation, and Yutaro Kubo, whose experimental works Kicking Rocks and 00:08 (8 seconds) fill me with the same kind of excitement I feel when watching Ryan Larkin films (see the NFB website). 

This year’s poster and DVD cover art was designed by Yewon Kim, and the opening event trailer is directed by Kohei Takeda.  Unless otherwise noted, all film synopses below are from the DVD booklet.  Bios have been updated with official websites, vimeo profiles, social media accounts, and so on.


Graduate Films
収録作品  第三期生修了作品


Way Back to the Sea
なまずは海に還る / Namazu wa umi ni kaeru / 2014 / 09'28"

“The catfish can’t get back to the sea.  A big catfish is stuck on a riverbank, where he lives quietly with a little catfish in a boat packed with memories from back home.”

Kaori Iwase (岩瀬夏緒利, b. 1988) was born in Ibaraki.  She has degrees in Design (2012) and Animation (2014) from Geidai.  Follow her on twitter and youtube.




Growth Factor
だっぴするためにひつようなこと / Dappisu tame ni hitsu you na koto / 2014 / 06'58"

“A middle school boy, who likes to snap photos of things he fancies, and then draws pictures of them.  On his usual route home, he spots the girl he likes with another boy.  The balance between his delusions and reality is in constant flux.”

Ryōsuke Ōshiro (大城良輔, b. 1988) grew up in Okinawa.  He has a degree in Design from Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts and completed his MA in Animation at Geidai in 2014.  Follow him on twitter, tumblr, and youtube.


Warriors
2014 / 03'45"

“Men’s muscle, lust for battle, conflict, and the game.”

Noriko Okamoto (岡本典子, b. 1989) is a native of Kyoto.  She has a degree in Animation from the Faculty of Manga at Kyoto Seika University and completed her MA in Animation at Geidai in 2014. 


Crazy Little Thing
澱みの騒ぎ / Yodomi no Sakagi / 2014 / 10'54"

“The two of them, all alone at home. All alone with her father's corpse. Memories, ideals, and reality all sink beneath the muck. Everyone is alone. Everyone is in solitude. “ 

Onohana (小野ハナ/Hana Ono, b. 1986) is from Iwate Prefecture.  She has a degree in Art Culture from Iwate University (2009) and an MA in Animation from Geidai (2014).  Learn more about her on her official website and follow her on twitter.





Exit My Room
おでかけ/ Odekake / 2014 / 05'08"

“He lives his life everyday like it's nothing special. Today he eats, gets dressed, and heads out once again.”

Ayaho Kawakami (川上彩穂, b. 1989) has a degree in Ecoregion Science from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and completed her MA in Animation at Geidai (2014).  Follow her on tumblr.


Everyday Sins
日々の罪悪 / Nichinichi no Zaiaku / 2014 / 07'38"

“Guilty is an art university student who is slacking off on her school work and feels horrible about it. Plus, she's confused about her family and Christianity, and she can't even get her ex-boyfriend to accept a small present she bought for him.”

Yewon Kim (キム・イェオン, b. 1988) is from South Korea.  She studied graduated from Korea Animation High School in 2006.  She continued her animation studies with a CA from Tokyo Polytechnic University (2011) before doing her MA at Geidai (2014).  This spring she began sharing her manga on her tumblr OnionSkin Publication.  You can also follow her on twitter and vimeo.


00:08
2014 / 05'19"

“This piece takes 8 seconds, and creates intervals between the frames, and then makes them bigger. It's about expansion and enlargement, not the passage of time. 8 seconds becomes that much more luxuriant.”

Yūtarō Kubo (久保雄太郎, 1990) is from Oita.  He has a BA in Animation from Tokyo Polytechnic University (2012) and an MA in Animation from Geidai (2014).  Check out his official website and follow him on twitter and vimeo.


Mrs. KABAGOdZILLA
ミセス・カバゴジラ / Misesu Kabagojira / 2014 / 09'26"

“‘Mrs. KABAGodZILLA had a daughter whose feet and arms looked just like her own.’ Mother and child were always together, but the mother's hospitalization makes the daughter remember the past, and think a little about what lies ahead.”

Moe Koyano (小谷野萌, b. 1989) is a native of Tokyo.  She has a degree in animation from Tokyo Polytechnic University (2012) and completed her MA in Animation at Geidai in 2014.  Follow her on tumblr and youtube


My Milk Cup Cow
コップの中の子牛/ Koppu no naka no Koushi / 2014 / 11'03"


Yantong Zhu (朱彦潼シュ・ゲンドウ, b. 1988) grew up in Nanjing, China and graduated with a degree in Advertising from the Nanjing University of Finance and Economics in 2010.  She completed Geidai’s graduate programme in animation in 2014.  You can follow Yantong Zhu on twitter or vimeo.


Pamon
パモン / 2014 / 09'45"

“PAMON are magical and mysterious creatures who can move the hair on their head however they wish, and communicate using their chest hair. This tale takes a peek at an ordinary day for the PAMON”

Kazushige Tōma (当真一茂, b. 1988) is from Okinawa.  He has a degree in Design and Design Crafts from Okinawa Prefectural University of the Arts (2012) and an MA in Animation from Geidai (2014).  He can be followed on twitter.  Check out his animation and puppets on his official website Nazetaro Web.


Flower Bud
花芽 / Kaga / 2014 / 05'52"

“The uncertainty, struggles, and joy of the moment upon becoming an adult. Between lullabies and songs I hum to myself. Between a man and myself. That subtle flickering in a single instant, forgotten once it is over.  Never forget that moment. . .”    

Saki Nakano (中野咲, b. 1988) is from Gunma.  She graduated from Joshibi University of Art and Design before pursuing her MA in Animation at Geidai.  Follow her on twitter.


Decorations
デコレーションズ / 2014 / 07'00"

“A quaint kitchen in a house tucked away in the outskirts of the city.  Amidst preparations fo a banquet, the birth of a new life brings turmoil and change.  And then, she heads off on her own journey.  Those who send her off recall the day they embarked on their own journeys, just like her.”

Read my full review of Decorations.

Mari Miyazawa (宮澤真理) is a former graphic designer in the computer games industry.  Since 2002, she has worked as a food blogger and starting in 2007 she began to bring her love of food and animation together.  Check out Miyazawa’s bento tips on her official YouTube channel, follow her blog on food art at http://www.e-obento.com/ and on twitter: @Mari_Miyazawa.





Lonesome Hero
ひとりぼっちのヒーロー / Hitori botchi no hīrō/ 2014 / 07'40"

“This is for children who couldn’t be on their own.  And, for the time when you’re older and you’ve forgotten your determination to be on your own.”

Manami Wakai (若井麻奈美, b. 1989) is a native of Kanagawa.  She has a degree in Oil Painting from Tama Art University and an MA in Animation from Geidai (2014).  Follow her on twitter and check out her art on her official website.


First Year Films
一年次作品2013



A Piece of Green
ひとつのカケラ / Hitsotsu no Kakera /岩瀬夏緒利 / Kaori Iwase / 2013 / 05'38"

“Dwarfs in red, blue and green colours have been working in each dark cabinet in a factory called television.  They have kept working without questioning their own identities.  Midori, a green dwarf, becomes aware of himself.  .  .”



Playground
あきちあそび / Akichi-asobi / 大城良輔 / Ryosuke Oshiro / 2013 / 05'09"

“A boy is always alone, at school, or at home.  One day, he finds a sandlot on the way home and thinks of making a ‘town’ of his own.  Another boy was watching his play and starts to imitate him.”



Tiny Tot Adventures
アカベンチャー / Aka-benchā / 岡本典子 / Noriko Okamoto / 2013 / 06'07"

“Mom and Dad imagine their little baby in Mom’s tummy, which is just like a universe filled with amniotic fluid and the baby is having an adventure there.”



Do As the Fish Tells You
魚のいうことを聞く / Sakana no iukoto wo Kiku   / 小野ハナ/ Onohana / 2013 / 05'28"

“I want to leave home,” a pet fish told a boy one day.  The boy reluctantly takes the fish out to the sea to ‘keep his promise,’ as it says.  Their recollections on the way became slightly discrepant.” 



I’m Nothing
なんでもない / Nandemonai /  川上彩穂/ Ayako Kawakami / 2013 / 04'06"

“I get up in the morning, prepare myself, wait for a bus, then the train, go to school, and return home.  Days go by even while I wonder about, cry, or sleep.



My Frame
私の額縁  / Watashi no Gakubuchi / キム・イェオン/ Yewon Kim / 2013 / 07'29"

“Suffering from her delusion, K tries to depict her disorder in her paintings.  In her dream, she finds a frame, which makes her believe that drawing is her destiny.”



Kicking Rocks
石けり/ Ishi keri / 久保雄太郎/ Yutaro Kubo / 2013 / 05'00"

“All of a sudden, a boy starts to play hopscotch.  Kicking stone[s] is.  .  .  simply play, but it doesn’t work as simply as it seems.  He struggles by the rule he made himself.”



My Dear Flesh
かみさまのはらわた / Kamisama no Harawata / 小谷野萌/ Moe Koyano / 2013 / 05'02"

“A spring night, I walked past a ‘god’.  I wonder if it was a cat or a man.  Or was it a wind I felt in a slumber?  They were certainly there, celebrating the cycle of lives in small ways.”


SELF Image
自我像 / Jigazō / 澁谷岳志/ Takashi Shibuya / 2013 / 02'38"

“A man walks.  His form wobbles precariously.  The world is hard to tell subjective or objective.  His body is cut in pieces.  Only the power of image can make these unite.”



Happy fluffy time
当真一茂 / Kazushige Toma / 2013 / 05'26"

“A girl plays alone in the twilight park.  Unexpectedly there appears a strange cotton candy man who makes magical cotton candies, which transform themselves into various animals and give the girl a happy fluffy moment.”


Ream
/ Ren / 中野咲 / Saki Nakano / 2013 / 02'51"

“The theme is ‘one continues to live, leaving his trace.’  It is an abstract animation [in] which movement is done by repetition of pencil drawings and erasure on a piece of paper.”


cubic centimeter
春成つむぎ/ Tsumugi Harunari / 2013 / 02'48"

“This animation shows how the liquid in a glass erupts, spreads, mix[es], and overflows.”


Twins in Bakery
宮澤真理/ Mari Miyazawa / 2013 / 04'55"

“A magical incident happened in an ordinary bakery while the baker was away for delivery.  That incident made this bakery the best in town.  But it is a secret not to be disclosed.”

Read my full review of Twins in the Bakery.



Daily Lives at Daisy Lodge
コーポにちにち草のくらし/ Kōpo Nichichi Kusa no Kurashi / 若井麻奈美/ Manami Wakai / 2013 / 08'23"



“The story of Bear, Acorn, Prawn Fritter, and Reading Glasses, or Specs, who live in a flat called Daisy Lodge from summer to a winter morning.  And it continues to someday when we look back today.”

Catherine Munroe Hotes 2014

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