Japanese Avant-Garde and Experimental Film Festival also features 4 shorts, which we are going to present here. However, their distinctly experimental nature make it rather hard to review them properly, and that is why I am talking about presentation and not analysis per se.

Your Voice Came out Through My Throat (2009) by Chikako Yamashiro (7.45 minutes)

Yamashiro performs the results of audio interviews she conducted with those who lived through the traumatic Battle of Okinawa from WWII.

The presentation is rather unusual since the short features the director herself lip-syncing to the testimonies heard in the background, which are uttered by men actually. The camera records her performance through a close-up in her face. However, she does not only lip-sync, but also tries to depict the psychological status of the people speaking, to the point that she even sheds tears during her performance.

The two different testimonies heard are “interrupted” by a sequence that functions as a tour of a library, while the second one also has the man whose voice is heard mirrored in her face, through a transparent visual effect.

The testimonies are rather harsh but truthful, with a number of sentences staying on mind, like the one saying “We could not tell which bone belongs to whom”.

Chikako Yamashiro seems to comment that the war still has a significant impact on contemporary Japanese people, although this effect derives from the people heard, rather than her own performance, in a tactic that could be purposeful, though. One thing can be said for sure, the title definitely fits the content.

Desktop Treasure (2014) by Ummmi (8: 43 min)

A rather intensely looking woman (dreadlocks, blue-green eyes, a motley shirt, silver-painted nails, much make up) is sitting an equally motley room, surfing through the internet, when she discovers an old blog titled Teen Age Lost. She attempts to delete it but cannot remember the password. This event causes her to think about the internet and particularly how modern self-identity is shaped by the interaction of people with it.

Through a number of intense images, mixed video footage of various qualities, messages on old sound tapes, and the noise music of  le petit terezes’s, Ummmi creates an extreme personal portrait, as she philosophizes about human existence and its constantly-changing “relationship” with technology.

Hikari Ikeda however, definitely dominates the visual aspect of the film with her appearance, actually setting the aforementioned comments in the background (to a point at least), in a short that seems to rely more on image than in context. Impressive effort though.

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