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Phases of Real

(19k) Director, Script, Photography, Editing, Producer: Kawaguchi Hajime
Sound: Uotsu Hidetoshi
Cast: Kobayashi Kazumasa, Kawaguchi Akiko
Source: Kawaguchi Hajime, Media Arts Studies, Department of Informatique Design, Tohoku University of Art & Design
200 Kamisakurada, Yamagata 990-2421 JAPAN
Phone: 81-236-27-2162 / Fax: 81-236-27-2145
e-mail: kaw@cg.tuad.ac.jp JAPAN / 1997 / Japanese with English subtitles /
Color / Video / 30 min

André Bazin may have prized the technologically recorded image for its ontological realism, but it is, in the end, only a text, a set of signs that always exists in interconnection with other signifying systems. Kawaguchi Hajime, an instructor at Yamagata's Tohoku University of Art and Design, uses his video camera to record everyday events and the people around him. None of this, however, bears any meaning until he begins joining it with other texts: first the coded manipulations of slow motion and freeze frames which draw out the protagonists, and second, the writing superimposed on the image that, read in voice over by both human and mechanical voices, begins to generate a story. This interconnecting of texts overlaps with an intermingling of individuals, creating a surprising and effective narrative about Kawaguchi that seems to accord well with the dominant current of personal film. But just how real is this narration of texts? In Kawaguchi's clever critique of personal film, as the texts multiply, so does the "I" at their center, undermining the subject which both speaks the text and supposedly authenticates its division between reality and fiction.
--Aaron Gerow


Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee