New Asian Currents

New Asian Currents Juror
Kawase Naomi

[Juror’s Statement]

The first time I visited Yamagata, the rich winds blowing through the city cast a spell on me. The films showing here and there around town were like rough diamonds waiting to shine. I simultaneously encountered the filmmakers living in the “present” and the “time” of their films which connected past and future. I was introduced to works by strong-willed filmmakers from Asia and around the world. Yes, here was base camp. I spent everyday of the film festival encountering passionate and astonishing films. Then when the film festival was over, the filmmakers disappeared from the town and the films had flown their nest. Yet, I was filled with a sense of the infinitely expanding possibilities before me. What were those thoughts welling up inside of me as I stood on a street corner?

There are many dramas in the horizon in which we live and I mistakenly thought that the work of a film involved “cutting out” one part of this drama. Yet a filmmaker should come to see the “truth” of the drama she lives in through her own gaze and this clearly exceeds the capacity of what a film can show. If this is the case, then what’s important when making a film is actually the act of “cutting away” which parts of the “truth.” In other words, while watching the camera eye rescue and capture reality, it’s when you think about what has been “cut away” from the real that the truth of a film appears.

The thoughts that welled up inside me as I stood on a street corner in Yamagata—perhaps I was covered by grains of cut-away “truth.” I’m looking forward again this year to the grains of life blown in by the rich winds.

Kawase Naomi

Born in Nara City in 1969. Graduated from the Faculty of Film of the Osaka School of Photography (currently the Visual Arts College) in 1989. Embracing (1992) won the FIPRESCIPrize Special Mention and Katatsumori (1994) was awarded the New Asian Currents’ Award of Excellence, both as part of the YIDFF ’95 New Asian Currents program. Became the youngest ever recipient of the Camera d’ Or (for best feature film by a new director) at the Cannes Film Festival for Suzaku (1996). The Weald (1997, shown at YIDFF ’97), Hotaru (2000), Kya Ka Ra Ba A (2001) and most of her other films have been shown at international film festivals and have received many prizes. Retrospectives of her films held at the 2000 Nyon International Film Festival, the 2002 Infinity Film Festival, and the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, sponsored by the Musée d’ Art Modern de la Ville Paris. Has published the novels Suzaku and Hotaru (Gentosha.) Also directs commercials and music videos. In 2003 Shara was shown in the competition section at the Cannes Film Festival and has attracted attention since its release in Japan.

Letter from a Yellow Cherry Blossom

(“Tsuioku no dansu”)

JAPAN / 2002 / Japanese / Color / Video / 65 min

Director, Photography, Editing: Kawase Naomi
Editing: Anraku Shotaro, Kawase Naomi
Appearances: Nishii Kazuo, Nishii Chizuko
Production Companies: Visual Arts College, Sent Inc., Kumie
Source: Sent Inc.
3F, 2-14-2 Shitaya, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-0004 JAPAN
Phone: 81-3-5824-1127 Fax: 81-3-5824-1128
E-mail: noirmam@sepia.ocn.ne.jp

The final days of Nishii Kazuo, photography critic who was a driving force behind Japan’s photography world. Nishii, who only has a few months to live, asks the director Kawase to film him. Shaken, she begins her regular visits to his bedside from the following day. The director talks to him with her video camera rolling as Nishii desperately tries to respond. Nishii himself has a still camera in hand, and clicks the shutter on director Kawase while she films. The exchange between the filmmaker and the film-object weaves a “memory of time shared” that continues to live on.

• New Asian Currents | Sand and Water | Wellspring | Three-Five People | Homesick | The Circle’s Corner | The Maze of Lanes | Nee Engey—Where Are You | NEW (IMPROVED) DELHI—Director’s Cut | A Night of Prophecy | 150 Seconds Ago | The Ballad of Life | Noah’s Ark | The Old Man of Hara | Dandelion | Hibakusha—At the End of the World | 3rd Vol.2—2 Light House | And Thereafter | Dust Buries Sabuk | Family Project: House of a Father | Edit | Gina Kim’s Video Diary | Ordo | Her and Him Van Leo | The Big Durian | Perpetual Motion | Debris | Hard Good Life | Nail | The Rhythm in Wulu Village | A Short Journey • Jurors | Kim Dong-won | Kawase Naomi • New Asian Currents Special | Part 1 | Part 2