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Early Monthly Segments is excited to host Takahiko Iimura in person to share his films. Iimura has been a pioneer Japanese experimental filmmaker since the 1960s. Early on he began to associate with the underground film scene of New York and he has maintained a continuous connection over the past fifty years, making work in both New York and Tokyo.
This program focuses on films that he made in collaboration with renowned Japanese composers—Takehisa Kosugi, Yoko Ono and Yasunao Tone—and by so doing, it also provides an overview of some of the most important films of his career. Kuzu (Junk) is Iimura’s first surviving film, from 1962. Iimura turned his regular 8mm camera on the flotsam washed up on the beach of Tokyo Bay, re-animating garbage and dead animals into a Neo-Dadaist reverie. Ai (Love) was a notable discovery at the historic Knokke-le-Zoute experimental film festival of 1964 (a reoccurring Belgian festival that launched films like Wavelength and Flaming Creatures), standing out for its sensual yet abstract depiction of the act of love-making. Onan, his first 16mm film, is simultaneously his most narrative and his most surreal, tracing the fantasies of a lone young male as his masculine lust turns into maternal care.
The program ends with two films that address Iimura’s continued interest in the filmic relationship between time and space. Timed 1, 2, 3 abstracts time down to sections of clear and dark leader, with the soundtrack serving as counter-point, creating a visceral sonic anticipation as we attempt to measure time. MA: Space/Time in the Garden of Ryoan-Ji presents a visual representation of the Japanese concept of MA, which translates roughly as “the interval space between objects”, a central pillar of Zen philosophy.
Kuzu (Junk), Takahiko Iimura, 1962, Japan, Reg 8mm blown up to 16mm, 8min. Music: Takehisa Kosugi
Ai (Love), Takahiko Iimura, 1962, Japan, Reg 8mm blown up to 16mm, 15min. Music: Yoko Ono
Onan, Takahiko Iimura, 1964, Japan, 7min. with Natsuyuki Nakanishi, Music: Yasunao Tone
MA: Space/Time in the Garden of Ryoan-Ji, Takahiko Iimura, 1989, Japan/USA, 16min. Text: Arata Isozaki, Music: Takehisa Kosugi. Commissioned by the Program for Art on Film (PAF), New York.
Timed, 1, 2, 3, Takahiko Iimura, 1972, Japan, 10min. Sound by Takahiko Iimura
Thanks to Media City Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Centre for Japanese Film Studies, Ann Arbor.