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10 Short Films you shouldn’t miss at the 34th Image Forum Festival

These are ten short films you shouldn’t miss at the 34th Image Forum Festival (Japan) which will take place in Tokyo (from September 26 until October 4th) and Nagoya (November 21st – 23rd).

About the Festival:
“The Image Forum Festival,” the largest festival of moving image art in Japan, is accepting submissions of original moving image works. There are no restrictions whatsoever on genre (art films, documentaries, animated works, dramas, and so on), techniques used, or length. We are looking for works that go beyond existing concepts to expand the horizon of visual expression.

Selected Films:

Ant-Man by Viet Vu – Vietnam | 2018 – 27 minutes
Program: J – Experimental Works from South East Asia

The daily life of a gay man whose body is inhabited by ants.

Screening Dates:
September 28th, 2020 (Monday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 21:15 pm
September 30th, 2020 (Wednesday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 13:15 pm

Hair by Yamamoto Sho – Japan | 2019 – 17 minutes
Program: D – East Asian Experiment Competition

An ugly looking man is being oppressed, then betrayed by the woman he fell in love with, and in desperation seeks God. The usual, ancient setup! However, one cannot be unimpressed by the persistence to depict the “ugliness” with so much care. Especially the kissing scene in the middle of the story is extremely upsetting. The author amplifies the personalities of the four ugly characters to the maximum, and then the opposite, God, in its purist form, rises. Is this God a piece of art? (YAJIMACHI Satoshi)

Screening Dates:
September 27th, 2020 (Sunday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 11:00 am
October 2nd, 2020 (Friday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 15:45 pm

Ladles by Kwan Cheuk Wai – Hong Kong | 2019 – 17 minutes
Program: C – East Asian Experimental Competition 3

An old man and a child meet on the beach. The child scoops seawater and pours it into a hole dug in the sand. Perhaps a metaphor for the divine gaze, the film is consistently depicted from above using a drone, starting with the enigmatic opening scene. Eventually the camera moves from the sea to the mountains. A single cut of tense footage continues to hold the audience’s attention. The film’s minimalist approach and bold, enigmatic structure leaves a deep impression. (KADOWAKI Kenji)

Screening Dates:
September 26th, 2020 (Saturday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 18:30 pm
October 2nd, 2020 (Friday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 13:15 pm

Menthol by Yu Chae – South Korea | 2019 – 3 minutes
Program: B – East Asian Experimental Competition

Late at night, an unfounded anxiety and frustration comes without warning. It is faint at first, but it grows, becomes independent, and eventually begins to speak to me in someone else’s voice. Everyday life in a one-room apartment, the faint and unsettling cracks in the room give way to a dense hint of darkness that gradually seeps out. The “photo-roman” technique of sequential monochrome photographs depicts a sense of foreboding and anxiety about a story that does not exist. (GOSHIMA Kazuhiro)

Screening Dates:
September 26th, 2020 (Saturday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 15:45 pm
October 2nd, 2020 (Friday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 11:00 am

No Land to live by Tseng Yu Chin – Taiwan | 2020 – 10 minutes
Program: E – East Asian Experimental Competition

Dark night. Young men and women stand alone with his or her back to us under a street lamp. A white shadow flits across the screen like a moth, and its tiny shadow floating across the screen in the light. The sound of insects buzzing, cars and motorcycles passing in the distance can be heard, but in the silence, the men and women simply look down in silence. This is a brilliant work of minimalist landscape film made possible only by the accumulation of such shots. (IKEDA Hiroyuki)

Screening Dates:
September 27th, 2020 (Sunday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 13:15 pm
October 1st, 2020 (Thursday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 11:00 am

Notes Before the Wind by Ip Yuk-Yiu – Hong Kong | 2020 – 25 minutes
Program: E – East Asian Experimental Competition

A fragmented record of Hong Kong from 2014 to 2019. Views switching between unremarkable everyday life and the disquieting atmosphere before and after the sites of mass media reports of the Umbrella Movement and protests. The repeated insertions of sea, wind, and flow of people suddenly reminded me of the words by Joshua Wong:“ I don’t see hope because I see it, I need to continue to see hope.” (MA Jungyeon)

Screening Dates:
September 27th, 2020 (Sunday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 13:15 pm
October 1st, 2020 (Thursday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 11:00 am

Pink Mao by Tang Han – China | 2020 – 22 minutes
Program: E – East Asian Experimental Competition

Starting with a simple question as to whether the hundred yuan note with Mao’s portrait is pink, not the generally perceived red, the film’s exploration pushes through, starting with looking up definitions in official documents, color analysis using a computer, researching red in traditional Chinese culture, and red as a symbol of communism. Later, the researches intersect with the historical, political, and cultural context in which the color pink has become, all the while fixating at Mao the icon. (MONMA Takashi)

Screening Dates:
September 27th, 2020 (Sunday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 13:15 pm
October 1st, 2020 (Thursday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 11:00 am

The Living Wall by Kurosaka Keita – Japan | 2020 – 6 minutes
Program: A – East Asian Experimental Competition

This is a new film by KUROSAKA Keita, an artist who has consistently been releasing drawing animation works in recent years. The “living wall” reshapes itself into various forms like a large fallen tree to a dying monster. This metamorphosis evokes a fascinating sense of freedom though imagination, assisted by the detailed yet unrestrained paint strokes and faint vocal echos. (MURAYAMA Kyoichiro)

Screening Dates:
September 26th, 2020 (Saturday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 11:00 am
October 1st, 2020 (Thursday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 13:15 pm

The Six by Chen Xi, An Xu – China | 2019 – 5 minutes
Program: D – East Asian Experiment Competition

A shifty man walks from one woman’s bedroom to another. But oddly enough, all the rooms are built the same. Outside is a jet-black darkness like the universe. We can’t even recognize our own position, where we’ve been peeking through a small window to see the whole thing. This is a place where the moon’s waxing and waning can be seen and where yin and yang meet. The faint blinking of the screen synergizes with the chattering noise and the echoes of the old harp, shivers, and pleasure loops through. (YAJIMACHI Satoshi)

Screening Dates:
September 27th, 2020 (Sunday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 11:00 am
October 2nd, 2020 (Friday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 15:45 pm

Vinegar Baths by Amanda Nell Eu – Malaysia | 2018 – 14 minutes
Program: J – Experimental Works from South East Asia

A tired and overworked nurse at the maternity ward finds joy when she is alone roaming the hospital corridors at night. It’s the time when she can finally eat.

Screening Dates:
September 28th, 2020 (Monday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 21:15 pm
September 30th, 2020 (Wednesday) | Theatre Image Forum (Tokyo) | 13:15 pm

For more information about the festival and the programme please visit the following link: http://www.imageforumfestival.com/2020/en/

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