Film Title: Winter Mondays, Summer Sundays
Tagline: Two directors, Two Journey’s into analogue
Synopsis: Two films: one about a mundane walk to the train station on a winter Monday morning and one about an exciting trip away from the city on a summer Sunday.
Stylization: Half shot in black and white 35mm film in stop motion and half shot in color 8mm the two films take on the characteristics that the trip dictates.
Directed by Jesse Freeman & Thomas Beswick
Music by Martin Ballou
+Really nice write up by John Sypal…expresses more than I had originally even conceived…
The past few days on this site have seen two posts about places for people to gather and interact with one another and photography. Fujifilm’s corporate presence at their new Wonder Photo Shop in Harauku fills a need as does the indie and Artist run space Pippo over in Asakusa.
Sunday evening was another reminder of the importance of sharing art as both a work but also as an experience. In a extremely cool venue filmmakers and friends Jesse Freeman and Thomas Beswick held a screening for their recent collaborative short film Winter Mondays, Summer Sundays
Once it’s online I’ll post a link but the most basic description is that it was divided into two parts, with Freeman’s measured and stop-motion monochromatic take on his daily morning commute through Tokyo with his Leica followed by the vivid richness of deftly edited 8mm film which Beswick shot last summer on a hitchhiking & Skateboarding tour through Japan.
The film was fantastic and since I can’t post a link now for you to enjoy at least what it looks like you know, the film, I want to say a few words about how - the experience.
Neither guy had to work together, but they did.
Jesse didn’t have to shoot, develop, and print his own film, but he did.
Thomas didn’t have to lug his 8mm movie camera all across the country and pay for processing and invest so much time to edit his footage, but he did.
They didn’t have to go to a darkroom to print out fifty 5x7 prints from the film as keepsakes for the first fifty guests, but they did.
They could have done all this start to finish digitally just like Samsung and Apple shows hip young people doing in their commercials, but they didn’t.
They could have just dumped their stuff to flickr or youtube, but they didn’t.
One hundred people didn’t have to choose to make their way from all over the city to a single location and sit on the floor or stand to watch a five minute short film, but they did.
Freeman and Beswick created a wonderful piece of art- and were able to make an event out of it for their friends to experience. Communal viewing of a film is a wonderful thing. And while the means by which the soon-to-be-uploaded version will potentially allow more people view the thing per moment than could have fit in the entire building, the fact that last night’s event actually existed is important in ways they internet can commodify.
Even though the screening is done, memories and the catalyst for new friendships and ideas remain. That’s part of it- lights coming back on and seeing the looks on other faces- leaning over and chatting as opposed to commenting and “liking”, that’s really a neat thing to for them to have facilitate. (That’s not to say that Facebook wasn’t instrumental in invitations and online connections. All these things are tools to be used by the desires of people and serve to compliment all aspects. Either one without the other would be lacking. )
I mentioned the photo space Pippo earlier- their statement of purpose has this great little line in it:
Photography is the art of relationships.
Art is the art of relationships.
Get people together- it’s worth it.
Cure is a film by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. This was really the film that brought him international claim, and after which he stayed in the thriller/horror genre. I came into him originally some years back through his filmography outlier in the family drama Tokyo Sonata. Before that I had seen Sweet Home as a bit of joke passing time when I studied Itami Juzo some years back since it was produced by him. Incidentally the video game spawned just as much of a reception as the film did. However, Cure was the true Kurosawa film that he is known for and can be used to describe the majority of his films.
Cure is about a detective with a mentally unstable wife who investigates a series of bizarre serial murders. An X is carved into all the victims and the suspects are always different as they are caught close to the crime scene. All of whom are unable to clarify a motive. They eventually do find a man who is in contact with all the murderers just before, but finds he has extreme short memory loss who has no name or past. After digging up info on him they are able to identify him and what is found in a search of the apartment starts the second half of the film.
The mid to late 90s would see and explosion of horror/thriller films in Japan. Can’t recall the Japanese novel but in it a character mentions that society needs horror films to release the anxieties of our mind. This I feel correlates to the films Japan wanted that came about just after the Tokyo Sarin gas incident in 1995 as well as the Kobe earthquake that would claim over 6,000 lives in the same year. I think in reverse and due to societal differences the reaction is similar to the rise of super hero films in America after 9/11. For the Japanese the focus of these films deal with media induced violence that shake up normalcy of average lives. Cure is one of the films out of this that got it best as it sees Japanese from all walks of life committing these gruesome murders. The question presented to each potential murder is “Who are You?” a question that the average doctor, salaryman, or police officer cannot answer.
The drastic difference in responses to disasters between America and Japan reflected through cinema could be a book topic that would begin even before WWII. However in short, with America it is the optimism of these films from the television drama Heroes to cinema with Spiderman that reflected the American sentiment, while for Japan it was the 90s thrillers and J-Horror films. I think in order to grasp this it is important to take a step back and look the cultures as whole. Japanese philosophic tradition sees the individual as an integral part of the world, while in the west the individual is unique, the center of his own world. The individual likes to think of himself as unique separate from the crowd. If there is sacrifice to be made, he will do it since such an act only serves to confirm his individuality. The Japanese individual sees himself/herself in the context of a social unit in society where loyalty will go to society. In this he is limited by his attitude finding the normal or average reassuring. The westerner strives to exceed limitations, loathing what is normal or average. Each response through cinema I feel confirms this.
Touching a bit on actual cinema…Kurosawa style is quite a pleasure. For such a film the ASLs are actually quite long, allowing us to absorb the atmosphere. Frame within frame within yet another frame shot compositions are usually used symbolically showing a character’s entrapment. The camera moves for the most part only on a horizontal axis squaring us and in doing so it serves to offer us the uniformity of society. Of all the films in this short study of late 90s J-Horror/thriller genres I watched this was by far the best