“ The DVD's in our Art & Documentary Collection featuring Nobuyoshi Araki and Kazuo Ohno are produced by our Japanese partner Yuji Kogure, Quest Cie, and nowhere else on sale.” This presentation shows a selection of the DVD Collection of Art House Japan, for a full overview on our products, please visit our website >
ARAKINEMA We are convinced that the Arakinema series of Nobuyoshi Araki will be a revelation for the countless admirers of Araki’s photograps all over the world. They are not just photo’s on screen but a fully flegded form of art, part photograpy, part painting. They show us all the known loves and obsessions of Araki, his wife, his cat Chiro, Tokyo, flowers, plastic dinosaurs, nude girls, bondage, but on a larger scale, and more continuous, creating a flow of live. It is all we expect from art, but rarely find : beauty and love of women, death and seperation never far away, an intensity of feeling as if there is nothing else on earth. “ Arakinema is like a massive catalogue but you don’t have to turn the pages.” KAZUO OHNO We are proud to present two documentaries on the dancer Kazuo Ohno, the pioneer of butoh who became a guru and inspirational figure. Butoh is Japan’s striking contribution to contemporary dance. Kazuo Ohno died aged 103 in June 2010. In 2001, though he lost his ability to walk, Ohno continued performing and developed ways to express himself through dance solely by moving his hands or crawling on all fours to communicate with his audience. In January 2007, he made his final public appearance in Yoshito's Hyakkaryoran at a gala celebrating his 100th birthday. “ There’s nothing to stop us from reaching out and touching the universe.” INTRODUCTION
SPD9304 - Arakinema - Flower Song 4 ‘Death’ - 2003 - 20 min. Motifs: flowers, the cat Chiro, Yoko (his wife) Flower Song 4 is the last slideshow in his serie of Flower Songs. It starts with the exploration of a beautiful painted Still Life in purple and green colors followed by a sequence of real colored flowers set in the same purple, red and greenish tones, among them are lili’s, orchids, thistle’s, pine cones. In this sensual, decaying paradise suddenly another motif arises: a small plastic snake. Araki often adds small plastic toys to the scene, such as animals, dinosaurs and snakes, which can be considered ‘avatars’ of the photographer. Through them, Araki feels in touch with his images. “ I need to have playmates around me because I often feel lonely. These monsters are my alter ego.” The flower series ends with the B&W photographs of Sentimental Journey - Winter Journey, which is dedicated to Yoko, Araki’s wife. His cat Chiro, the female cat his wife Yoko brought home shortly before she died, is sitting on a newspaper on the table. Chiro looks out the window, over the balcony, into the street. Images pass by of the street, a railroad running along the street, the JR train station. The shadow of Araki and a bunch of branches with flowers (is it cherry blossom?) emerges on the concrete stairs of the station stairs. Going somewhere. Street scenes. Hospital scenes. An image of the last touch: his hand strangled in the hand of Yoko. The bunch of branches stands on the bedside cabinet.
SPD9308 - Arakinema - Autumn Flowers - 2005 - 20 min. Motifs: street scenes, flowers, painted nudes. Autumn Flowers is a beautifully composed piece, which consists of five movements. The first movement reveals a subdued sequence of B&W images of Shinjuku Kubukicho. This neighborhood is photographed at dawn with its deserted streets, empty parking lots, obscure hotels and buildings . The only living creature is a black cat, sitting in an empty parking lot, followed by more images of gloomy buildings. “ Photography is simply about a day, an instant that is extremely wonderful. Nothing could be greater than an intimate journal.” This sequence of street scenes gets gradually interspaced with images of the morning sky, here the second movement sets in. The patches of skies are framed by blocks of buildings, and enlarge to reveal bright colored flowers. A majestic flow of sky and flower images sets in until the third movement: a splendid sequence with only flowers. In the fourth movement the colored flowers are superimposed by B&W images of flowers, here, slowly and dignified the decay begins: a sequence of flowers in fading colors is followed by a sequence of withering black and white flowers. The fifth movement, and epilogue, opens another level of intensity. The B&W flowers are superimposed by the B&W images of nudes. The nudes, painted over with bright colored brushstrokes, appear and disappear at slow pace in the sequence of black and white flowers. The music that accompanies Autumn Flowers is especially effective. It evokes the same sense of distance, beauty and otherworldliness. All this results in a true symphony of the senses, and the kind of elevation that one always hopes for but rarely gets from art.
SPD9309 - Arakinema - Tokyo Kurumado - 2005 - 20 min. Motifs: street scenes, people, bondage, flowers, nudes. Tokyo Kurumado is as beautifully composed as Autumn Flowers. Araki began the Kurumado series 10 years ago. Since then, almost every day, he has been taking photographs from a car window. The rear, side en front windows are the frames of the images and playfully interact with the notion of what has been and the expectation of what lays ahead. Most of the photographs are dated. Time framed by a car window. “ Transfers of places, transfers of time. That's what a diary is about. Transfers. But I don't think about that, I just continue to take photos every day. Moving is living. Punctuating the moves is a journal.” It starts with B&W images of streets filled with cars, people passing by, waiting for crossovers, trees, children, and more streets, both impenetrable and labyrinthine . The framed views from the car get gradually superimposed with images of nudes. The nudes and bondage images are also in B&W, painted over with bright colored brushstrokes. Finally the painted nudes and bondage images take over in a long vivacious sequence, on the tempo of the music, to be sparsely interspaced with the window views. The last part of the slide show returns to where it started, capturing views on the streets of Shinjuku and Harajuku. The cycle of city life framed by a car window. Again Araki shows his quality of a true artist, to make us see our everyday surroundings with an intensity as if they are remembered or seen back in retrospect. He captures right away what most people only much later see as remarkable of a certain period.
SPD9310 - Arakinema - Blue Period - 2005 - 20 min. Motifs: street scenes, women, bondage, nudes, flowers. The slideshow Blue Period is a masterpiece. It consists of an impressive sequence of around 275 photographs, which were taken in the 70s and 80s. The images have been bleached vigorously so all the photographs are tinted in a faded blue wash, as if underwater, they show scratches and mildew or water marks, rendering them old and dreamlike. “ I think that all the attractions in life are implied in women. There are many essential elements: beauty, disgust, obscenity, purity... much more than one finds in nature. In woman, there is a sky and a sea. In woman there is the flower and the bud.” The beginning shows some images of a photographic reportage featuring a woman in a red dress in the back streets of Tokyo. Because of the faded blue cast, the streets seem particularly dark and gloomy, which effect is also reinforced by the messy and shabby buildings. Then, a photograph of flowers appears and is the start of a sequence of all kinds of women, clothed or nude, unbound or bound. Realistic, sentimental, erotic, funny, sad, nostalgic, emotional and at times obscene; with each nude, each face that appears you get a glimpse of the person behind. The melancholy quality of this series is such that you long to remember some of the faces seen only by a mere glance. This breathtaking sequence is only sparsely interrupted by cat or flower images. The music by Fumio Yusada enhances the melancholic effects of the images without getting invasive.
SPD9311 - Arakinema - Last Summer - 2005 - 20 min. Motifs: street scenes, women, bondage, nudes, flowers. “ Last Summer” consists of a fascinating sequence of around 240 photographs. The images have been stained with transparent colors, in the beginning the stains function as a way of transit: through the color, another image comes through: the face of a woman, or a street scene. All images are set in a beautifully balanced choreography of six movements in which street scenes and nudes are alternating each other in different paces and frequencies. The overall impression of the accelerating street scenes alternated by nudes is more penetrating and more gloomy, than in the other slideshows. The impossible warren of streets, the crossings, the colors in which the images are impregnated, the frequency of the night scenes, if you want to feel like Deckard in Blade Runner, here’s your change. The overall impression of desolation is enforced by images of lonely individuals walking in the streets or the groups of people waiting at crossovers or crossing the streets. The nudes in Last Summer show the shady side of Tokyo. They appear to be a mixture of women working in the sex industry, ordinary women, young girls and all together they share the same characteristics; they have absolutely no sense of shame or guilt, their looks are cheerful and carefree. The women are photographed in all possible stages of undressing, and in combination with the stains and strokes of paint, sometimes in particular on their intimate parts, Araki plays a humorous game with human lust. Like in “Blue Period, also this slideshow gets interrupted only here and there by flowers, and skies. The flowers merge with the lights of the city. “ Last Summer” ends with an image of an umbrella imprinted with the Venus of Botticelli emerging from an ocean of lust and color stains.
SPD9312 - Arakinema - Kaori - 2006 - 20 min. Motifs: Kaori, painted portraits, bondage and nudes. “ Kaori” consists of two parts, a highly sensual sequence of around 350 B&W painted photographs. The first part consists of black and white photographs. It is a dance between light and shadow, between Kaori and Araki. This intriguing sequence begins with a close up of Kaori’s face. Then, alone on a white stage, her dance begins, she is dressed in a wide white lace skirt and a tiny black shirt, her eyes are directed, in a fixed gaze, to the camera. In a way, she’s dancing with Araki, we see his presence in her eyes, in the expression on her face. Her shadow interacts playfully with her body and the composition of the image enhancing the sensual choreography of her dance. As the dance proceeds, suddenly her undressed torso is revealed and she dances on, only dressed in her white skirt. Until she remains without any garments, she dances on, alone with her shadow and Araki. The dance continues with images that are stained with transparent colors. In the second part of the slideshow, the image of Kaori is superimposed by a continuous flow of other nudes, all young and beautiful. They are more excessively painted than in previous slideshows. At some point the nudes are completely covered with transparent colors and their bodies are barely visible in this labyrinth of color overlap. The colors seem randomly chosen and attached but the effect is never ugly or boring. Araki is here in a true Japanese sense an artist of the floating world. “ I feel as though I'm swimming back and forth between the color bank, the bank of our world and the bank of the next world, the world of black and white.”
SPD9313 - Arakinema - July - 2007 - 20 min. Motifs: street scenes, people, flowers, nudes. All photographs are taken in July 2006 and give a bright colored summer impression of the megapolis Tokyo and its inhabitants. Araki obsessively records on photographs whatever is around him, clicking the shutter almost every three minutes, thus giving a personal account of his life, as in a diary: a candid meditation on sex, life, death and society. It starts with a beautifully composed sequence of nocturnal cityscapes in which random patterns of light are superimposed by fishes in illuminated aquariums. Daytime brings us images of a pair in kimono, which are in their turn superimposed by empty streets, the sky, a basket of flowers, a watermelon, and so on. In the second movement a flow of streets scenes are interrupted by images of skies, Araki’s balcony and dinosaurs, served fish, children, diverting snapshots of street life, and photographs taken from a car driving along the highways of Tokyo . The last sequence shows us Araki and one of his favorite hangouts: a karaoke bar in Shinjuku. These are followed by more street scenes taken from the window of a car, and then : an x-ray of a mouth, grinning, as a prelude to a series of girls in colorful dresses, followed by flower and sky images, more buildings and a melancholic ending with the never tiring image of his balcony and collection of dinosaurs with in their midst his cat Chiro, captured from behind looking towards the city. Home at last. Tokyo Paradise. “ Sentiment, sentiment, sentiment, sentiment. Pressing the shutter release is like holding your breath for a second. But not to the point of killing yourself, thank you. It's just a state of suspended emotion.”
Kazuo Ohno Introduction . Kazuo Ohno was a dancer who became a guru and inspirational figure in the dance form known as Butoh. Butoh is Japan`s striking contribution to contemporary dance. He died aged 103 in June 2010. A poet beyond mere words of description, he expressed poetry in motion and while there is no paintbrush to his art, he was an expert at creating images through dance. Even after his 90th birthday Kazuo Ohno continued dancing. When he could not walk by himself, he danced with the supports by others. When he could not stand even with the supports, he danced as he seated himself. When his legs didn`t move as he wanted, he danced with his hands. When he lost himself, he crawled on his knees and continued to dance with his shoes. “ There`s nothing to stop us from reaching out and touching the universe. .”
SPD9803 - Kuzuo Ohno Butoh Dancer - 2007 - 100 min. The documentary is a compelling story of the last years of Kazuo Ohno, Japan’s most famous Butoh-dancer. The story begins after Kazuo`s injury, he is in his Butoh workshop with his son, Yoshito Ohno. In the workshop Kazuo tries to perform by lying on a floor and rolling his body. No matter how, he wants to dance. Eventually his desire and strong determination to dance leads to partial recovery and we follow Kazuo in his preparations for a public performance to celebrate his 100th birthday, the Hyakkaryouran Gala Concert, at the Kanagawa Prefectural Seishonen Centre. Slowly, one starts to wonder wether his mind is still active or if it is only his body remembering his art, and this gives the documentary much of its depth and feeling. During the preparations Kazuo Ohno is assisted by his son, also a leading butoh artist, Yoshito Ohno. In fact, for 20 years Yoshito Ohno directed his father's performances and danced behind him, ready to support his father at crucial moments, moving at a deliberate slow pace. The documentary's understated style adds to its poignancy and emotional authenticity. The performance celebrating his 100th birthday was done having him seated in a chair because he was unable to stand. Interacting with the space around him as if it were alive, he was dancing with his upper body and hand gestures. The final performance shows us Japan at its best: a tribute from a mostly young audience to a very old dancer bound to a chair. Details: Languages: Japanese with English subtitles Region: All Production Company: QUEST Director: Koshiro Otsu Producers: Kazuya Yamaguchi / Yuji Kogure Principal Cast: Kazuo Ohno / Yoshito Ohno / Toshio Mizohata
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