Working in film formats ranging from Super 8 to 35mm, Tomonari Nishikawa is a meticulous film artist who uses his camera almost scientifically to extract new perceptual perspectives from familiar visual territories. His films dissect the complicated tapestry of urban environments and break them into formal visual elements – color, contrast, intensity, and duration – to be recombined inside of a lyrical, sensual, cinematic moment. Nishikawa’s experimental techniques blend well with his chosen subject matter. Each film in his upcoming program at MassArt Film Society represents an exciting approach to depicting the subjective experience of city life, moment-to-moment and frame-by-frame.
In his 2013 film 45 7 BROADWAY, New York’s Times Square is divided into complex patterns of color, contrast, and motion and then recombined layer by layer to become newly familiar. By shooting high contrast black and white images through intense color filters, the vibrant chaos of Times Square is playfully transposed into a three dimensional cacophony of color. In SHIBUYA-TOKYO (2010), the exits of 20 subway stations on the JR Yamanote line in Japan are superimposed, creating an infinite wall of mirrors to portray the perpetual experience of municipal transit. Ghost-like figures float inside invisible overlapping frames, traveling in a time warp that carries them from arrival to departure and back again. The joyful flicker of his 2005 film MARKET STREET captures the angles and corners of San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, combining a frenzy of single frames into a new structural experience.
Nishikawa’s technique-driven approach to filmmaking may be a challenge to some audiences, and for good reason. Cinematic craftsmanship of this sort is hard to come by these days. Fortunately, Nishikawa will be on hand to shed light on his process and answer the inevitable question: How the hell did you do that?
MassArt Film Society
Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
8 pm // $4 // FREE for MassArt Students
Sketch Film #1 (2005, 3 min., super 8, 18fps, silent, US)
Sketch Film #2 (2005, 3 min., super 8, 18fps, silent, US)
Market Street (2005, 5 min., 16mm, silent, US)
Sketch Film #3 (2006, 3 min., super 8, 18fps, silent, US/Japan)
Sketch Film #4 (2007, 3 min., super 8, 18fps, silent, US)
Sketch Film #5 (2007, 3 min., super 8, 18fps, silent, US)
Clear Blue Sky (2006, 4 min., MiniDV, sound, US)
Building 945 (2007, 3 min. video documentation, mixed media, US)
Into the Mass (2007, 6 min., dual 16mm, silent, US)
Tokyo – Ebisu (2010, 5 min., 16mm, sound, Japan)
Shibuya – Tokyo (2010, 10 min., 16mm, sound, Japan)
45 7 Broadway (2013, 5 min., 16mm, sound, US)