THE 19TH JAPAN MEDIA ARTS FESTIVAL

- - - - -Text: Takashi Ichikawa, Mariko Honjo

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“The Case of Hana and Alice” Shunji Iwai

“The Case of Hana and Alice” the first long animation by a film director Shunji Iwai, got a prize of the Animation department. This is a prequel of “Hana and Alice” in 2004 directed by Iwai. The title may have surprised fans who knew the live-action version of 2004. But, based on a plot which is an adventure story to solve a mystery of “the smallest murder case in the world,” he beautifully expressed a familiar clear world.

He is known as a person who has pursued filming technology and aesthetics in many films and for this animation he used “rotoscoping” which traces over motion pictures and replaces them as animation and “3DCG cell looking technology” which seeks the texture of the cell. Rotoscoping has often added odd vividness in animation before. However, it has also produced wonderful effects for the real and lively human movement that made viewers imagine trial and error as he experienced it until finally his goal. I hope that he will keep working on animation rather than films.

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“Deux Amis (Two Friends)” Natalia Chernysheva

Natalia Chernysheva won a new artist prize of the Animation department. In her piece “Deux Amis (Two friends)” she exquisitely expressed the relationship of friends living in different environments by a conversation between a tadpole and a green caterpillar. Even though they are friends, there are something they cannot understand about each other and that gives misinterpretation to them, thus leading them to an unexpected ending. She was influenced by Hokusai Katsushika and Hiroshige Utagawa and also hand drawn characters, each movement of frogs, and design of bagworms were very original. The expression replacing animals as the present society is like the modern moving Choju-Giga, Japanese Scrolls of Frolicking Animals.

Interestingly enough, there was an unusual amount of foreign visitors this year and this Art Festival seemed to receive more attention from the foreign countries than before. Prize-winning works of this year introduced new expression related to reality such as using LGBTQ themes and replacing live-action into animation. Prized works didn’t necessarily make full use of the latest technology and the wide-ranged evaluation basis seemingly asked artists and creators about the future of media art. This Media Art Festival succeed in creating a good conversation between them.

The 19th Japan Media Arts Festival Exhibition of Award-winning Works
Date: February 3rd – 14th, 2016
Opening hours: 10:00 – 18:00 (Friday until 20:00)
* Last entry 30 min prior to closing
Place: The National Art Center, Tokyo (7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo)
Other places: TOHO CINEMAS Roppongi Hills (6-10-2 Roppongi), Super Deluxe (3-1-25 Nishi-Azabu), Institute Cervantes Tokyo(2-9, 6 Bancho)
*Closed days and opening hours vary according to venue.
Admission: free
Organized by Japan Media Arts Festival Executive Committee
Tel: +81 (0)3 5459 4668 (Information center 19:00-20:00)
http://festival.j-mediaarts.jp/en/

Text: Takashi Ichikawa, Mariko Honjo
Translation: Hanae Kawai

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