New Asian Currents
- New Asian Currents Special Invitation Film
- KOREA, JAPAN
- Pimpaka Towira
Wonder/Wander Asia! Defying the Borderless
Rather than being bound to the geographical characteristics of ‘Asia’ on the map, New Asian Currents 2005 freely associates the words Asia and Asian-ness with the traversing of boundaries between specific places, moments and individuals. The question is, how to acknowledge the inevitable transgressing and blurring of boundaries in our contemporary society/politics/personal histories, and how to face the past and the ever connected ‘present’.
The notion of being ‘borderless’ is naive in that it assumes the existence of ‘borders’—simple ‘lines’ and uncomplicated ‘differences’—in concert with the recurring standardization of all aspects of society rife in contemporary discourse. Here, the only borders evoked are those clearly drawn lines that you see on maps.
This program resists such trivialities by celebrating Asia through the most fundamental of human sensibilities—to Wonder/Wander: to feel curious or strangely about something, to contemplate, a desire to know, a feeling of surprise, to rove, to go astray. The twenty-six assorted films entice the viewer into the world of “Wonder/Wander Asia.”
In the visuals that seep through is hidden the sincere hope that if one films diligently, something ‘real’ will be captured. The personal documentaries portray a unique sense of the world around us, as the filmmakers grapple with various styles of expression around their ‘personal’ perspectives. The directors’ earnest gaze and the protagonists’ leisurely, serene lives breathe rhythmically. The directors engage in constant dialogue with the ‘realm’ in the frame throughout the creative process. It is a process of directing the eye at the individual, of naming and remembering histories and personal stories. It is a trial of self-reflection and expressing with unique methods the collective memory of society. The way directors weave archival footage in their films to confront contemporary society—such wit!!
New Asian Currents has introduced and supported up-and-coming Asian documentarists since its inception. Although the program title and coordinators have changed, this year’s New Asian Currents marks the 8th session to date. An additional screening venue has also been added, with the large, old-fashioned Cinema Asahi joining the usual venues of Muse 1 and 2.
As new coordinators this year, we greet the anticipation with humility, and would like to yield to the motion of the films together with you—the audience and visiting directors. We sincerely look forward to seeing you all in Yamagata, and hope that the flickering radiance of the films light up the cinemas, and lead the way to a successful festival. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the filmmakers who have given us much joy, all of you who have helped put this program together, and our friends.
Are you ready to drown yourself in Yamagata’s Asian currents??
Remember the magic words: Documentary, Wonder! Yamagata, Wander!
—Hama Haruka, Wakai Makiko