in Japan, forget about ROYBIV. Colors are a richer, more subtle affair there.
Natural dye and textile master artist Fukumi Shimura and her daughter Yoko will
explain the “48 hues of browns and the 100 grays” for the benefit of westerners
in Goro Ushijima’s short documentary Colors
of Life (trailer
which screens as part of the Shorts:
Expressions programming block at this year’s DOC NYC.
Shimuras use pigments found in nature to dye silk rich, earthy colors. The
senior Shimura is a particular expert in madder, while the younger has a
passion for Indigo. Just visiting their atelier is a treat. It seems to exist
someplace outside of time, surrounded by lush, verdant vegetation.
just under fifteen minutes, Colors of
Life is visually distinctive and peacefully contemplative to an extent that
is truly rare documentary filmmaking. Cinematographers Kim Ch’ung-hwan and
Takeyoshi Suzuki capture a vivid sense of the artists’ atelier and its
sheltering environs. However, one of the most striking aspects of the film is
its holistic, interconnected sense of art. As Fukumi Shimura explains, her
conception of art and color (as well as her haiku poetry) are partly influenced
by the writings of Goethe and the tenets of Buddhism. Of course, the cycle
continues, with her textile art inspiring Ushijima’s film.
of Life is a lovely and thoughtful
film that would be perfectly paired with Kenny Dalsheimer’s A Weaverly Path, the documentary portrait
of textile artist Silvia Heyden, featuring the music of Eri Yamamoto. Colors is almost a haiku in itself, but
there is more substance to it than such a description would suggest. Highly
recommended, Colors of Life screens
this Saturday (11/14) at the IFC Center, as part of the Shorts: Expressions program at DOC NYC 2015.
Labels: DOC NYC '15, Documentary, Japanese Cinema, Short Films