11 June 2010

Hiroshima 2010

poster art by Nobuhiro Aihara (相原信洋)

The films competing at this year’s International Animation Festival Hiroshima have been selected and the schedule is now online. The selection committee consisted of Otto Adler (Switzerland), Nicolas Jacquet (France), Wiola Sowa (Poland), Candy Kugel (USA), and Kotaro Sato (Japan).

The Japanese shorts on offer at Hiroshima include:

In a Pig’s Eye (わからないブタ/Wakatanai Buta)

dir. Atsushi Wada (和田淳)
Wada’s surreal films have been delighting and confusing Image Forum and international festival audiences for many years now. He uses symbolic imagery to comment on the pressures of modern life. In Day of Nose (Hana no Hi, 2005) sheep were used both as a symbol of comfort as well as to symbolize the pressures of following the herd on the modern salaryman. This new film uses the pig as a metaphor. The stills from the film suggest that Wada is continuing to use his usual method of hand drawing each frame on paper.


dir. Mirai Mizue (水江 未来)
Mizue’s films blend music and image in the tradition started by such innovators as Norman McLaren and Oskar Fischinger. In Jam, Mizue uses his signature cells to create a kaleidoscope of movement and surreal fantasy. The “jam” in the title may refer to the fact that the frame is jam packed with colours, shapes, and motion. This animation can be viewed on Mizue’s website

Hand Soap (ハンド・ソープ) 

dir. Kei Oyama (大山 慶)
Like Atsushi Wada, Oyama’s films have been a regular feature of Image Forum compilations and festival screenings over the past few years. His themes are often disturbing, but always engaging. His aesthetic is visually quite unique as he scans human flesh and other natural surfaces, then colours and edits them on the computer to create his images. Hand Soap won a prize at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen last month, and will be screening at Japan Woche Mainz next week. The jurors at Oberhausen described it as using “extraordinary techniques to find expressive images for the physical-psychological experience of an adolescent boy.”

Woman Who Stole Fingers 
(指を盗んだ女 /Oyubi wo Nesumenda Onna)

dir. Saori Shiroki (銀木沙織)

I am not very familiar with the work of Saori Shiroki. Her 2005 short fllm Evening Light (夜の灯/Yoru no hi) is viewable on the YokohamaArtNavi and is a dark and surreal little piece that uses a moth as a metaphor for seeing. The art is quite accomplished, but the film has the unpolished feel of a student work. The still from this new film reminds me very much of the installation art of Tabaimo, who often uses hands as metaphors in her work. By all accounts, this film is surreal representation of the bond between mother and child.

Please support these artists by purchasing their work when possible:

Tokyo Loop / Animation