Monday, May 18, 2009

Toshio Matsumoto

Toshio Matsumoto (born March 25, 1932) is a Japanese film director and video artist. He was born in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan and graduated from Tokyo University in 1955.
His first short was Ginrin, which he made in 1955, however his most famous film is Funeral Parade of Roses (aka Bara no soretsu). Funeral Parade of Roses influenced Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange heavily. The film was a retelling of Oedipus Rex, featuring a transsexual (portrayed by Peter (actor)) trying to move up in the world of the Japanese gay bars.
Matsumoto has published many books of photography and is currently a professor and dean of Arts at the Kyoto University of Art and Design. He is also the President of the Japan Society of Image Arts and Sciences.

The first two shorts are clearly related to the Funeral Parade of Roses. For the Damaged Right Eye is a montage piece on a split screen (with a third screen occasionally appearing in overlay). The subjects touched upon are (predictably) political unrest, sexuality and pop-culture. Extasis makes an actual appearance inside the Funeral Parade of Roses: it is nothing else than the minimalist short that the group of underground youths watches before they proclaim that "all definitions of cinema have been erased".

Metastasis and Mona Lisa build upon the various color manipulations and substitutions. In Metastasis, a static shot of a toilet bowl serves as the raw material. I will leave it for you to guess what serves as the raw material in Mona Lisa.

Phanton and Atman should probably be thought of as preparatory exercises for Shura, as they both extensively feature imagery related to the oriental religions. Make sure to hold on to your chairs as you watch the opening sequence of Atman - or else I cannot be held responsible for the consequences.

Finally, White hole presents a wide variety of explosions, both recorded and simulated, and Ki or Breathing is a spare concoction assembled from low motion shots of nature and set to a score by the much-acclaimed Tohru Takemitsu.

Experimental Film Works (1961-1987)

The Weavers of Nishijin (1961)
The Song of Stone (1963)
Mothers (1967)
For the Damaged Right Eye (1968)
Ecstasis (1969)
Metastasis (1971)
Expansion (1972)
Mona Lisa (1973)
Andy Warhol - Re-production (1974)
Atman (1975)
Phantom (1975)
Everything Visible Is Empty (1975)
Enigma (1978)
White hole (1979)
Ki or Breathing (1980)
Connection (1981)
Relation (1982)
Sway (1985)
Engram (1987)

Thx to Merzboy Goes Conceptual

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