New Asian Currents Special
Filmmakers Information Center—Searching for New Contexts

Screenings: Two approaches to Japanese experimental film history

However many innovative new films are made, they must be screened for an audience to appreciate them. How does one go about curating a screening, and from what perspectives should screenings be approached? Presenting two different screening programs reflecting variant approaches to the history of Japanese experimental film, Part II discusses the potential and fun of film curation and application. Film selection and commentary courtesy of FMIC member Nishimura Tomohiro.


Program A: Repetition and Structure


- JAPAN / 1975 / Color / 16mm / 11 min
Matsumoto Toshio

Matsumoto Toshio was a leading light in experimental film in post-war Japan and influenced many artists. He worked in documentary film, feature film, video art and other fields, and left an impressive record of works in each. Atman uses infrared film, and plainly demonstrates the filmmaker’s structural interests.

Le Cinéma

- JAPAN / 1975 / B&W / 16mm / 5 min
Okuyama Junichi

Okuyama Junichi is a visual artist who constantly pursues the possibilities inherent in film itself, and who draws out new discoveries even as he continues his experimental approach based on the mechanism of film. With Le Cinéma, he turns the very fact that movie time is set at 24 frames per second into a work.

Metamorphose Vol. 3 (Mix Juice)

- JAPAN / 1985 / Color / 8mm / 15 min
Kurosaka Keita

Kurosaka Keita develops his personal world through animation using photographs. Recently many of his works use images from the world of the grotesque, but this film belongs to an early series that shows abstract leanings. This film, with its many images, feels as if it has truly been mixed in a blender.

The Stone Steps with a Blue Handrail

- JAPAN / 1990 / Color / 8mm / 7 min
Nishimura Tomohiro

I tried to create an image of minimalist composer Steve Reich’s theory of “music as a gradual progression.” By shifting and repeating a specific pattern based on a unvarying pulse, I tried to create unpredictable variations. The music is Reich’s “Piano Phase.”

The Rainbow of Odds

- JAPAN / 1998 / B&W / 16mm / 8 min
Sueoka Ichiro

Sueoka is an artist who creates new works with found footage, and develops the film stock himself. In this work, he uses The Wizard of Oz. By repeating the famous musical number “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” over and over, it deconstructs standard narrative style and shifts to a different mode of filmic experience.


- JAPAN / 1999 / Color / 16mm / 7 min
Ishida Takashi

Ishida Takashi takes frame-by-frame photographs of his own paintings and creates complex abstract films from them. Gestalt was created by repainting the actual walls of a room, and clearly shows the artist’s unique approach toward space. In recent years, Ishida has been working on a filmic adaptation of Bach’s “Art of the Fugue.”

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