Scen., M.: Susumu Hani. F.: Jun’ichi Segawa. Mus.: Yashiro Akio. Int.: Hiroshi Akutagawa (narratore). Prod.: Mitsuru Kudo per Iwanami. 16mm. Col.
This celebrated documentary, filmed in colour, depicts one of the most famous of all Japanese temples. Horyu-ji, in the small town of Ikaruga outside Japan’s ancient capital of Nara, was one of the first Buddhist places of worship established in Japan, and contains the oldest surviving wooden buildings in the world, dating from the seventh century. Producer Mitsuru Kudo describes the filming process: “For Horyu-ji, we spent about a week at Horyu-ji Temple making detailed observations and even doing film tests. That place has a special set of colours: the red of Horyu-ji, the colour of the earthen walls, the colour when the sky is clear, the colour when it’s wet. We had the leeway to stay in Nara and investigate.” In a sequence of inventive compositions, Hani records the striking features, variously placid, impassive and anguished, of the Buddhist statues themselves, while, in the opening scene, finding “a kind of ecstasy” in the living faces of the visitors watching a ritual performance at this ancient site. Distinguished modernist composer Yashiro Akio contributes a haunting score.
Alex Jacoby e Johan Nordström