New Asian Currents [JAPAN]

Variant Phases

- JAPAN / 2001 / Japanese / Color / Video / 51 min

Director, Script, Photography, Editing, Sound, Producer, Source: Kawaguchi Hajime
Media Arts Studies, Department of Information Design, Tohoku University of Art & Design
200 Kamisakurada, Yamagata, Yamagata 990-2421 JAPAN
Phone: 81-23-627-2162 Fax: 81-23-627-2145
E-mail: kaw@cg.tuad.ac.jp

“This is an undeniable fact.” “I am the ‘creator’ of this film and story.” “The script is prepared by ME.”—Here we see an endless set of Chinese boxes, where the ‘story-teller’ who supposedly is in control of weaving the tale and the film, is caught up in a meta-text and made subjective to his story. As the “phases” of this film proceed, we are offered feelgood tales, images, and music one after the other. But beware—If you indulge, you will be jolted awake by the bitter realization that “this is not real.” But there IS a way out of this video forest, this forest of relativity. Just look up at the blue sky, hear the wind, listen to the quivering humming of a human voice....

[Director’s Statement] Art is Art, reality is reality. Both inside and outside each exist in different temporal streams and we as the audience cannot touch events shown in the screen. But is it really so? Consider, for example, “resonance,” a phenomenon in which things with a similar pattern affect each other. If we use a “model” which mimics the real world, doesn’t the work resonate with the reality which surrounds it, creating an interaction? I made and screened “phase one” of this work in 1998, and since then have made it a rule to add a new “phase” every time the work has screened.

Filming on digital video working with nonlinear editing, I practiced the following method; listening carefully to the real world, finding its “open seam,” in other words a small whirlpool of intervention between the reality and the work, giving feedback to the work and multiplying it all. As the phases proceed, the reality in the work undergoes a shift. Taking the filmmaker who is the point of differentiation as the catalyst, the totality of the work changes.


- Kawaguchi Hajime

Born in Tokyo in 1967. Participated in the independent animation club at Kokubunji High School before entering Kyushu Institute of Design in Fukuoka, where he encountered experimental film. Since starting to make films as a freshman in 1987, has created predominantly film and video works based on the theme of world exploration. Member of the filmmakers’ group Film Makers Field. In 1993, moved to Yamagata, where he teaches at a university and continues to make films. Major works include Phases of Real (1997, screening at YIDFF ’97 Japanese Panorama), AQUARIUM (1991) and filmy (1988). Has made about thirty films, including short films, to date.

• New Asian Currents | Soshin: In Your Dreams | A True Story about Love | My Migrant Soul | Our Boys | Along the Railway | More than One Is Unhappy | This Winter | Jari Mari: Of Cloth and Other Stories | King of Dreams | My Friend Su | The Performance | My Mother’s Home, Lagoon | Water and Atefeh | Blessed | MAYA | Danchizake (Homemade Sake) | Variant Phases | Doomealee, the Very First Step | Farewell | Pansy and Ivy | Sky-blue Hometown | Koryu: Southern Women, South Korea | News Time | Margin | Sowing Seeds | Chlorine Addiction | Chichi, the Monster | Mixed Fruit Banana Split | Sales | The Falling Kite | March of Time | Once Upon a Time | Hummadruz | Vanished with Water • New Asian Currents Invitation Films | The Musicians | The Eclipse | Life beyond the Noise | “Floating Islands” Series | 03:04 | The Paradise Island Tong-Sha, an Isle like a Crab | West Island | Who Is Fishing® | Silent Delta • Jurors | Sato Makoto | Chalida Uabumrungjit • New Asian Currents Special | Filmmakers Information Center / Searching for New Contexts