Puppet Shaman Star
JAPAN / 2008 / Japanese / Color / Video / 34 min
Director, Photographs: Takamine Go
Assistant Director: Yamaguchi Takahisa
Photography: Mori Takuma
Editing: Takagi Shunichi
Producer: Shiroma Satomi
Appearances: Okuyama Keisuke, Takamine Go, Katchan, Hiroe
Production Companies, Source: Okuyama Office, Shiroma Shoten, Takamine Productions
Okuyama Keisuke is a make-up artist for traditional festivals and Japanese dance, and also a creator of puppets in a style with ancient roots. He travels to Okinawa and, on its limestone beaches, frolics with his puppets, whose white skins are colorfully adorned with beads and artificial flowers. The camera embraces the puppets’ body parts and captures the Eros they arouse. The wind through the rocky hollows whispers with the cries of spirits (mabui).
[Director’s Statement] The documentary on the make-up artist and puppet master Okuyama Keisuke is the third in a series on “my favorite people,” after films on Kadekaru Rinsho and Oshiro Misako. Okuyama’s appeal can be explained by the inner fermentation and sublimation of Eros and Thanatos. Secular and alien worlds coexist with ease in his puppets, such as the sacred phallic-Kannon or the charming butt-faced skull. Okuyama’s face looks like a puppet these days. Or is it vice versa?
Born in 1948 in Kabira on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa. Lived in Naha through high school. Entered Kyoto University of Education on a national scholarship for exchange students, at which time he began shooting 8mm movies. His directorial debut was Okinawan Dream Show (1974), a close look at the scenery of Okinawa around the time of its reversion to Japan. He has continued to shoot films about Okinawa. Untamagiru (1989) won a number of prizes, including the Caligari Film Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. He served as an International Competition juror at YIDFF 2003. He is working on a new narrative film, Queer Fish Lane.