Toshio Matsumoto

Toshio Matsumoto – Ishi no uta AKA The Song of Stone (1963)

While extracting and polishing their blocks of stone, stonecutters used to say the stone is coming to life. This paradox provided Matsumoto with the best metaphor for what making a film is all about. In his opinion, filmmakers work images in the same way that stonecutters work stones. Read More »

Toshio Matsumoto – Atman (1975)

ĀTMAN is a visual tour-de-force based on the idea of the subject at the centre of the circle created by camera positions (480 such positions). Shooting frame-by-frame the filmmaker set up an increasingly rapid circular motion. ĀTMAN is an early Buddhist deity often connected with destruction; the Japanese aspect is stressed by the devil mask of Hangan, from the Noh, and by using both Noh music and the general principle of acceleration often associated with Noh drama. Read More »

Toshio Matsumoto – Metastasis – Shinchin taisha (1971)

Metastasis presents layered projections of a toilet but both the name and the equipment (Matsumoto used an Electro Color Processor a machine commonly used by doctors) convey the ever-present fear of cancer in Japan of that time. Read More »

Toshio Matsumoto – Dogura magura AKA Dogra Magra (1988)

A man is confined to a mental institution after trying to murder his fiancee. Two doctors relate his problem to an Asian philosophy that states that mental defects are transmitted from generation to generation. He learns that one of his distant ancestors murdered his wife as a way of demonstrating a point to his lord about the importance of love over the emptiness of lust and to drive home the point further, created a series of illustrations of the dead woman decaying which in turn trigger the memories of his distant descendent. But is the whole thing merely a game concocted by the two doctors, who may even have driven themselves mad? Read More »