Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am (not) seen

Director: Takahiko iimura
Duration: 5 minutes

I, like many others in my class, am very unfamiliar with experimental film. I didn't have any in mind so I turned to Netflix to help me in my quest to find an experimental short that I a) somewhat comprehend b) am able to write more than a few sentences about. Fortunately, Netflix saved the day! I stumbled upon a series of DVDs called "Different Cinema" which features 10 short films from all around the world that, at one time or another, have hit the industry. I went through about 2 of them before I came across this one.

I am (not) seen is a short with absolutely no dialogue or story. The short deals primarily with the one's sense of sight and features such sentences as :I am seen, I see you and I am not seen superimposed over pictures of a face, eyes , ears and forehead of a person. The video is constantly moving in a rapid motion with stills of the person's face or close up of his eyes occasionally popping up. Towards the end of the film, the video moves even faster and the still shots are zoomed in on the person's eyes more so than before. The music through out the short goes hand in hand with the rapid motion of the film. It's loud, scratchy and repeats over and over. The way the film ends leaves you almost in a trance because it ends so suddenly and goes straight from complete mayhem to a black screen with no sound.

The director/man featured in the film, Takahiko Iimura, was a pioneer of experimental film in Japan and once he moved to New York City in the early 60's he became very well-known internationally for his numerous shorts and video arts, as he called them. One short, called LOVE (1962) featured music by Yoko Ono. Her participation in that film definitely boosted his career in the United States. He is also well known for other various artistic works including performances and installations.

I enjoyed this film immensely. Although it appears very simple and perhaps boring, I find it extremely artistic and interesting because of its use of still photographs and simple phrases to represent the sense of seeing and how deceiving our perceptions can be. (that's a mouth full.)

** There was no video found of this short. If you like the concept though, I highly suggest renting Different Cinema Vol. 1 & 2

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