A pioneer of Sixties counter-cinema, Japanese director, video artist and critic Toshio Matsumoto (1932-2017) rose to prominence as a daring stylist and fearless provocateur whose radical films shattered social and aesthetic taboos with inspired precision and energy. Matsumoto began as a documentary filmmaker, directing a series of abstract and subtly political films before turning his attention to more experimental work in the 60s. Psychedelia, deconstruction, and the visualization of subjectivity were central themes of Matsumoto’s films; in his neo-documentary work, these are fused with conventional documentary elements to create a unique hybrid.
Song Of Stone (JAP / 1963 / 23 mins / 16mm to video)
A documentary constructed from still images with sound by legendary composer Toru Takemitsu. The world of the stone cutters is explored as they ‘bring to life’ each block.
Phantom (JAP / 1975 / 10mins / 16mm)
A naked woman on a beach; a man performing yoga; an eyeball floating over a city; two people walking round a flickering statue, intercut with close-ups of a woman’s face.
Black Hole (JAP 1977 / 3mins /16mm )
Abstract video manipulations suggest a dying star.
Connection (JAP / 1981 / 10mins /16mm)
Masterful video mixing – cloudscapes and rigorous geometry, a prog-rock-film classic. Sound by Y.Inagaki.
Sway (JAP / 1985 / 8mins /16mm)
An optically printed film at a shrine with tongs and nails.
Atman (JAP / 1975 /11mins/ 16mm)
A shamanic masterpiece, filmed in infrared, consisting of hundreds of zooming and panning stills of a figure clad in a Noh mask, electronic score by Toshi Ichiyanigi.