Friday, January 9, 2009

Sae Shimizu: A woman, a DV camera and one wild imagination

by Chris MaGee

I remember once reading an interview with "The Godfather" director Francis Ford Coppola saying that filmmaking had become to complex, that too much money and too many people were involved in the process of getting the idea from the screenwriter/ director's mind and onto the screen. His hope was that in the near future movie-making technology would be simple and cheap enough that even a teenage girl somewhere in the mid-West could create a cinematic masterpiece in her backyard.

Why do I bring this up? Well, with digital video, desktop editing software and YouTube we may very well be right in the middle of that "near future" that Coppola postulated about. Take Sae Shimizu as an example. In my frequent searches through YouTube for trailers and clips I came across this 30-year-old self-taught filmmaker and musician whose videos were screened at the 2000 PIA Film Festival and who also gigs around Tokyo with her punk band Hatena Taxi. She's posted clips from her videos "Neco", "My Beautiful Ego" and "Metal Light" on her YouTube channel, and while I'm not saying she's fulfilled Coppola's dream of creating a cinematic materpiece ( her stuff is definitely raw, low-budget and decidedly confounding) I have to admit that there's something intriguing about them. Think of a combination of Andy Warhol and Shuji Terayama films for the viral video age.

To see what I mean check out the clip from "Neco" below and if you end up wanting to scratch your head a bit more then check out Shimizu's YouTube channel here.

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