22 February 2019

Tomoyasu Murata: Stop Motion Master

Tomoyasu Murata: Stop Motion Master
Saturday, February 23, 3 PM, 5 PM and 7 PM

Japan Society
333 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017

North American Premiere

One of Japan's most prolific independent animation artists, Tomoyasu Murata (村田朋泰, b. 1974) has created breath-taking, boundary-breaking stop motion animated films over the last two decades. Initially inspired by the expressive power of traditional Japanese bunraku puppet theatre, Murata's films — at once tender, whimsical and mysterious — deal with themes of memory, absence and mujo (the Buddhist concept of impermanence) through the cinematic manipulation of his meticulously handcrafted puppets and fantastical miniature sets. The eight short films in this program range from the artist's award-winning student work to recent projects that respond to the Great East Japan Earthquake.

All films written, directed and animated by Tomoyasu Murata.

Suiren no Hito
2000 / 16’

In Murata’s award-winning thesis work, which mourns the loss of a loved one, an elderly man’s daily routine is interrupted by a rediscovered fragment of a precious memory.

The Scarlet Road
Ake no Michi
2002 / 14’

Part of Murata’s “Road” series, a sorrowful pianist on a journey meets a girl who gives him a vermillion flower in a tunnel connecting them to a world beyond.

Family Deck (Vol. 1, 5, 6)
Kazoku Dekki
2007 / 15’

The Seven Lucky Gods (or kami, meaning both "hair" and "gods") live in the Takada’s barber shop in Tokyo—a set based on a real-life now-lost local store close to Murata’s heart—where they play charming tricks on the family of four.

Forest this Flower Blooms
Ki-no Hana-no Sakuya Mori
2015 / 11’

In the first episode in a series of films centred on The Great East Japan Earthquake, an amnesiac wolf traces his past and escapes from hunters who are after him in an eerily beautiful moonscape.

2016 / 11’

The island repeats volcanic eruption after earthquake, smoke and glowing heat bubbling from the morphing surface—but when the tectonic activity recedes, all is sand and, finally, the miracle of water flowing, of life.

A Branch of a Pine is Tied Up
Matsuga Edawo Musubi
2017 / 17’

Twins are separated by the destructive earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's Tohoku region in 2011, but with a swirling snow globe, they traverse the present and the past, the living and the dead: reconciling, remembering, and restoring.