all about me?
Japanese and Swiss Personal Documentaries
How interesting are first-person stories? In collaboration with long-term friends from the Swiss film festival Visions du Réel in Nyon, we present a program of new Japanese and Swiss films from the so-called “self-documentary” field. Daily discussions with international guests will delve deeply into the form and style of personal documentaries today. This event will be carried over to Visions du Réel in April 2006.
Date: October 8 (Sat)–10 (Mon)
Daily Screenings from 10:00 Venue: Yamagata Central Public Hall 4F
Across six themed programs are new personal documentaries by artists from a variety of backgrounds ranging from renowned filmmakers Robert Frank and Kawase Naomi, new graduates, and pioneers of the experimental film genre. Young people with cameras confront their parents in At the Parishes and Harimano, reflecting a category of documentary strong in both Eastern and Western cultures. Switzerland today is represented fully in its cultural diversity, including films made in all four official languages (German, French, Italian, Rumantsch). The Japanese tradition of diary film is alive and well, as can be seen from Suzuki Shirouyasu and Maeda Shinjiro’s work. Our lineup also includes innovative approaches to the first person documentary, such as Sato Makoto’s Memories of Agano, made by a film crew, Shadow, featuring an actress, and Setoguchi Miki’s award-winning film from the experimental Image Forum festival.
Evening discussions Venue: Sakura
Converted traditional warehouse Café Sakura will transform into the Swiss Café where bilingual panel discussions will take place every evening. Guests from other programs will join in for heated debates!
• October 8 (Sat) 16:30 Panel “Memories—Cinema as a way of remembering/recreating”
• October 9 (Sun) 19:30 Panel “Voyeurism and Healing the Self”
• October 10 (Mon) 17:30 Lecture “Swiss public support for the arts” Panel “The body and subjectivity”
PROGRAM A seeking remnants
• October 8 (Sat) 10:00
- Pizzet (Maybe the Last Year)
- Switzerland / 2003 / Romanch / Color / 35mm / 52 min
Director: Ivo Zen
The filmmaker’s elderly aunt and uncle raise cows and hand-cut grass on a farm in an Alpine valley. The smoll enterprise where each cow has a name is reaching “maybe the last year,” say the old couple each year. A sincere and patient camera traces childhood memories and empathy towards a disappearing lifestyle and the Romanch culture.
- Memories of Agano
- Japan / 2004 / Japanese / Color / 16mm / 55 min
Director: Sato Makoto
Ten years after the acclaimed film Living on the River Agano, the film crew returns to Niigata to visit the people. Personal memories reflect upon remnants of those many who passed away as the camera observes abandoned rice fields and hearths that have lost their masters.
PROGRAM B resurrecting memory
• October 8 (Sat) 13:00
- moving pictures
- USA / 1994 / Silent / B&W + Color / Video / 16 min
- the present
- USA / 1996 / English / Color / 35mm / 24 min
Director: Robert Frank
Renowned Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank has been making films since the 1950s. Silent film moving pictures uses photos, found footage, and projected images, and captures the fragmentary nature of the filmed image. In the present, everyday and intimate footage set the filmmaker’s sense of loss and the grief of loved ones passing away into relief.
- Japan / 2004 / Japanese / Color / Video / 26 min
Director: Kawase Naomi
Kawase Naomi, whose work has consistently featured an absent father figure, meets “him” through the body of an actress. A critique on the personal film genre, as the staged situation reveals real emotions and subjectivity.
PROGRAM C beyond self-importance
• October 9 (Sun) 10:00
- “hibi” 13 full moons
- Japan / 2005 / Japanese / Color / Video / 96 min
Director: Maeda Shinjiro
The filmmaker films 15 seconds a day on his laptop computer for 365 days. The waxing of the moon determines which time of day to shoot. Despite the “automatism” of the unedited footage, a vivid picture of the personal comes forth.
• October 9 (Sun) 13:00
- Gambling, Gods and LSD
- Switzerland, Canada / 2002 / English & others / Color / 35mm / 180 min
Director: Peter Mettler
A journey meeting people who yearn for the ecstasy of life through various means like religion, drugs, or sex takes the filmmaker to Toronto, Nevada, Switzerland, and southern India. The action of making the film mirrors the search for a matrix that encompasses all being.
PROGRAM D to undress
• October 9 (Sun) 17:00
- Switzerland / 2004 / No dialogue / Color / Video / 12 min
Director: Martina Jacoma
A video art work using X-ray images and endoscopes to anatomically observe the human body. The experiment converts autobiographical experience to another form.
- Mother of the Mother and Also the Mother of the Mother’s Mother, and Her Daughter
- Japan / 2005 / Japanese / Color / Video / 11 min
Director: Setoguchi Miki
To come to terms with illusory memories of a bed-ridden mother and an isolated island where the filmmaker as a child lived with her grandmother, dolls made from food come alive with a curse. A modern-day Hariti (demon mother goddess) tale.
- At the Parishes
- Switzerland / 2003 / Swiss German & others / Color / Video / 30 min
Director: Yaël Parish
The filmmaker’s parents hired nannies to take care of their three children. As an adult, the filmmaker visits the nannies and confronts her now divorced parents and brothers about their trauma.
- Japan / 2005 / Japanese / Color / Video / 32 min
Director: Sonobe Mamiko
Hanging out every day with a classmate, the filmmaker feels the urge to “undress her.” Using a narration soundtrack which speaks to another “you,” and emphasizing the ever present camera, the suspense rises. A graduation project from Yamagata’s Tohoku University of Art & Design.
PROGRAM E the first person voice
• October 10 (Mon) 10:00
- Correspondence 10
- Japan / 2005 / Japanese / Color / Video / 36 min
Director: Kawanaka Nobuhiro + Hagiwara Sakumi
The 10th of a series of video letter exchanges between two artists since 1979. Over the course of sending each other footage from their daily life, the theme of aging and death of loved ones emerges.
- Lucky Jack—Three Attempts to Stop Smoking
- Swiss / 2003 / German + Swiss-German / Color / 35mm / 90 min
Director: Peter Liechti
The filmmaker takes three walking trips to get rid of his smoking habit. The journey takes him on an exploration of his inner self, his personal history, and a rediscovery of the Swiss land.
- After All, I’m 70 Years Old
- Japan / 2005 / Japanese / Color / Video / 35 min
Director: Suzuki Shirouyasu
Going on 70, the filmmaker begins daily exercises to combat aging. Appreciating the flowers in his garden daily, he starts to feel invigorated. The latest video work by a pioneer of the Japanese personal film.
PROGRAM F the political is personal, too
• October 10 (Mon) 14:00
- The Parade (Our History)
- Switzerland / 2002 / French / Color / Video / 78 min
Director: Lionel Baier
While filming the organizers of a gay parade in a conservative provincial town for 7 months, the city-bred filmmaker who never had to become an activist to be gay, discovers himself undergoing change.
- Belgium / 2004 / Japanese,French / Video / 53 min
Director: Tanaka Aya
The Belgium-based filmmaker’s father returns with his daughter to the mountain village from which he was once exiled for his communist ideas and student activism. The father-daughter reunion, in the clear air surrounded by green mountains, reflects something of Japan’s postwar history.
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