Japanese, English, French
It is a poetic and animated meditation on the impressions left by my two trips to Japan, in 2003 and in 2018. In both cases, I brought back images and sounds as well as recordings of my performances, notably the one with the dancer-choreographer Teita Iwabushi. A formal construction crossed by several axes of tension: animation engraved on film/sounds recorded in public places; listening to a language we don’t understand/immanent emotional power of the word; contemporary life/persistence of traditions; fluidity of the course of things/memory of the disasters of recent history (atomic bomb on Nagasaki, nuclear accident in Fukushima). The completion of the film coincides with the tenth anniversary of Fukushima. In a way, it is a fictional question: what do we see of Japan when Mount Fuji is invisible, lost in my butts? Evocation of a paradoxical invisibility.
A word from Tënk
The eleventh film from the series, Places and Monuments, composed of films and video installations made by Pierre Hébert starting in 2010, Mount Fuji Seen From a Moving Train shows one of Québec’s greatest filmmakers paying homage to an emblematic figure from his personal pantheon: Robert Breer (who shares this honoured position with Stan Brakhage, Robert Lapoujade, Norman McLaren, Len Lye, and André Martin). A eighty-one-minute reverent response to Breer’s Fuji (1974), Hébert’s film constitutes what he considers a new step in his reflections on the “idea of animation” and “instrumental expression”—two notions that brought him to a poetic of altered duration and the creation of paradoxical temporalities.
With a minimalistic approach to cinematographic construction (“minimum animation for maximum effect,” in Hébert’s words), each episode of the “Places and Monuments” series starts with filmed footage that is then digitally manipulated or animated.
Having filmed around the world, Pierre Hébert’s time in Japan allowed him to revisit the series’ approach in a way, leaving more space for the animations etched into the film to take a dominant role—which, after all, according to Hébert, was “the point of convergence between Places and Monuments and the 2016 project Scratch.”
Professor at the University Toulouse Jean-Jaurès