Posts Tagged ‘Takahiko Iimura’

(S8) Peripheral Film Festival celebrates its 5th Edition with a special programme, part of the activities of the Spain – Japan Dual Year


Takahiko Iimura, considered the father of Japanese avant-garde cinema, will lead the programme of a Special Edition that brings together to Corunna a group of renowned filmmakers including Daïchi Saïto, (+) art collective founders Takashi Makino, Rei Hayama and Shinkan Tamaki, and the hidden gem of Nippon Super 8, Teruo Koike.

Katsuben – Benshi: ‘Narrators of Silence’. This Japanese silent cinema old tradition will be presented in Spain for the first time in our opening ceremony.

For its fifth edition, the (S8) Peripheral Film Festival has selected Japan as the guest country because it owns one of the most suggestive and important filmographies in the history of cinema. This Special Edition will be part of the activities that are taking place in our country in 2014, within the Dual Year Spain-Japan. The city of Corunna will become during the dates of the festival the main focus of this international event celebrating 400 years of relations between the two countries.
In this Special Edition Japan (S8) addresses the past, present and future of Japanese film culture, developing a comprehensive programme ranging from its origins to the present day, with particular emphasis on the avant-garde, new expressions and young Japanese filmmakers that will be present at the Festival.

Corunna will have the privilege of hosting for the first time in our country one of the most representative narrative arts of the origins of Japanese cinema, which is also globally unique. The performance will take place during our opening ceremony in the afternoon of the 4th of June at Teatro Rosalía de Castro. In collaboration with Japan Foundation and thanks to the work of the expert Nieves Moreno, the (S8) and the city of Corunna, through its Department of Culture, make possible this tribute to the early twentieth century Japanese cinema.
The role of benshi or katsuben was instrumental for Japanese cinema and an example of the wide variety of the narrative arts featuring Japanese culture. The so called ‘silent film’ era was a rich stage in experimentation in the use of various sound techniques inherited from the oral and theatrical tradition. Although Japanese cinema from its beginnings was never completely ‘silent’, the image was always accompanied on stage with a narrative element and live music performances.
For the representation to be held at the opening ceremony, the (S8) will have the presence of benshi Raiko Sakamoto. This Japanese silent film narrator belongs to Matsuda, the most prestigious school in Japan, which has been responsible for keeping alive until today this old profession. The soundtrack will be played live by Joichi Yuasa with a shamisen (the most famous Japanese stringed instrument). We have selected for the screening the film Jirokichi the Rat (1931), the only fully preserved silent film by the legendary director Daisuke Ito.
On June 2nd the expert on this first Japanese cinema genre Nieves Moreno will give a lecture in Corunna on the tradition of silent films in Japan as a prelude to the screening Katsuben – Benshi that opens the programme of our fifth edition.
Nieves Moreno has a degree in Asian Studies from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. With the support of Japanese public institutions, she was a researcher at the Department of Cinema and Theatre at Waseda University in Tokyo for a period of three years. At the moment she is finishing her doctoral thesis about the origins of cinema in Japan at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, where she is a researcher in training.


The (S8) Peripheral Film Festival will have de honor to receive the visit of one of the greatest experimental international masters: Takahiko Iimura. Member of a selected group of renowned filmmakers along with Peter Kubelka, Stan Brakhage, Michael Snow or Jonas Mekas, Iimura is considered, as them all in their own countries, the father of avant-garde cinema, in this case in Japan.

Our visitors and accredited press will have the chance to enjoy a season including several of his most celebrated films, a selection made by the author himself on his 16mm work. Furthermore, between the 4th and the 8th of June our audience will have free access to the video installation ‘As I see you, you see me’ that the artist will be activating with an artistic intervention at certain moments of the festival. The programme will be completed by the performance ‘White Calligraphy, Re-Read’ (in 8mm) and a questions and answer session moderated by Esperanzo Collado, a curator specialized in avant-garde cinema.

Famous for exploring materials, the conceptual and intellectual rigor with touches of humor, Iimura met Jonas Mekas in 1964 at Brussel’s International Independent Film Festival where he won a Special Award for his film Onan (1963). Following this meeting, Mekas asked Yoko Ono to promote some of Iimura’s work in New York, which she did. Although the relationship with Ono goes back to 1962:

“I don’t consider myself as part of Fluxus, but a friend, although I was involved by way of making recordings of their events. I have worked with Yoko Ono too, whom I met back in Japan when I used to frequent her performances. I showed her my films and she made the soundtrack of Ai/Love in 1962. Nine years later in 1971, I made a film of her exhibition Yoko Ono: This Is Not Here, with John Lennon too”. (Takahiko Iimura, interview with Esperanza Collado for BlogsandDocs, February 2010).

Furthermore, in 1985, Iimura published one of the first authorized biographies of Yoko Ono.


If Takahiko Iimura is thought to be the ‘father’ of Japanese avant-garde, Daichi Saïto would be the ‘son’. Originally from Japan, but after studying literature and philosophy in the United States, Saïto lives in Montreal where he is co -founder of the art collective Double Negative dedicated to the exhibition, distribution and production of experimental cinema. In 2010, his film Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis won the top prize of the 48th Ann Arbor Film Festival, one of the most prestigious avant-garde cinema competitions worldwide. That same year Saïto won the Grand Jury Prize at the 16th Festival of Media City in Canada.

(S8) Peripheral Film Festival has commissioned Daïchi Saïto a special programme on the history of avant-garde cinema in Japan for which the artist has selected those films he considers to be indispensable for a better understanding of what was and what is done nowadays by experimental authors in Japan. Real family situations registered in bucolic spaces , work on the relationship between material reality and the represented reality, a kaleidoscopic portrait of Andy Warhol, films about film, are the contents and intentions of works such as A Woman with Two Heads – A Shadow Film ( Shuji Terayama , 1977) , Drill ( Takashi Ito , 1983) or Andy Warhol : Re – reproduction ( Toshio Matsumoto, 1974).

Furthermore, the (S8) Peripheral Film Festival will show a selection of DaÏchi Saïto’s work, films that have travelled through the most important festivals, galleries, museums and cinematheques.


The future of Japanese avant-garde cinema runs through the impulse of the work of three young filmmakers that together have founded the art group [ + ], one of the main channels of creation and dissemination of experimental cinema in Japan. This platform of innovating arts is led by Takashi Makino, an internationally renowned filmmaker whose work is usually programmed by reputed film festivals such as Ann Arbor, 25FPS Zagreb and International Film Festival Rotterdam. Makino states that his films are “imagination generators”. Around this concept there spins the organical abstraction, a direct relationship between the film and the spectator through the stimulation of personal memories and sensations, a mix of digital and analogic images where the music plays a fundamental role. Makino has collaborated with musicians such as Jim O’Rourke, Tara Jean O’Neill, Colleen, Chris Corsano and Lawrence English.

The (S8) Peripheral Film Festival will offer two Makino programmes. The first one will be the Spanish premiere of his most recent film Phantom Nebula (2014): a juxtaposition of images reaching sometimes 10 thousand layers. With the second our visitors will be able to watch the film 2012 and experience the effects of a ‘cosmic noise storm’ in the performance ‘Space Noise 3D’, 30 minutes of video and 16mm with the impulse of a mesmerizing sound.

Rei Hayama, who will be attending the festival, is also a co-founder and member of the [ + ] group in Tokyo. With an eye on nature -animals, plants- in contrast and opposition to human creations, her movies condense the purest and most primitive state of vision. With a work that very often starts from the hand processed, re-filmed and manipulated celluloid, Hayama unearths the hidden power in certain images to build films on the verge of an abstract narration.

Shinkan Tamaki is the third of [ + ] group co-founders that will visit Corunna during the first week of June. High contrast, the distinction between figure and ground, folds, shadows, negative and positive image, experimenting with the possibilities of the light spectrum, traces and marks left by analog processes: these are some of Tamaki’s film resources. Games of perception supported on the human vision failures, Shinkan Tamaki’s pieces have a high pedagogical component in order to educate the eye of the viewer.

Shinkan Tamaki and Rei Hamaya will have both a video installation open to the audience of the festival at Fundación Luis Seoane building.


With the secret dedication and the care of a naturalist (botanist, geologists and entomologist at the same time), Teruo Koike has dedicated himself for the last three decades to the meticulous task of creating his own personal planet. A task that could also be approached as a vegetal, mineral and animal inventory printed on celluloid, produced to be the content of a time capsule. Koike has created more than twenty of these particular ‘ecosystems’ in which he studies the behavior and functionality of those groups of organisms in different environments. The programme that will be shown in Corunna includes three of these ecosystems, filmed and screened in Super 8. A sample of a very singular and unique work, so quiet but at the same time so dazzling, of a hidden master that was rediscovered two years ago by International Film Festival Rotterdam.

The selection of films includes: Ecosystem 10 – A Dripping Moss (1996), Ecosystem 6 – A Sort of Mycelium (1989) and Ecosystem 5 – A Tremulous Stone (1988). In total more than 40 minutes of film in Super 8 with the musical live accompaniment of Teruo Koike’s self-built Japanese wooden flute.