Cinema Scope

Makino Takashi’s Ghost of OT301

“Like news reports of wartime Japan, films with stories or a precise structure throw images at an audience with their meanings already intact. Rather than making films with my own imposed structure, my method is to abandon structure altogether or, in other words, layer images that once embodied meaning on top of one another until they become unintelligible.”
—Makino Takashi

rain or rain? (1926), bright and brittle against black night, but what exactly it is that’s pelting is unclear. Scratches on emulsion? Runnels of gouges on clear leader? Perhaps multiples of each, along with action-painting splotches. Within or perhaps behind the rain, a great pulverization begins; Jack Kirby collages come to mind. The film is by Tokyobased experimentalist Makino Takashi, made in 2014. Soon, muted colours seep in, lush stains, along with vestiges of architectural forms and the outlines of men’s hats, all in steady tumult. This is a cinema of depths, less a double- or triple-superimposition than a pile of semi-permeable blankets; a veritable fog of filmstuffs where at last, as one be-leathered crooner of the ’60s used to observe, faces come out of the rain. was the first of Makino’s films to utilize found footage, though the findings in this footage seem akin to Ezra Pound finding the faces of a crowd in the petals on a wet, black bough. Both dense and discorporate, is a ghost story on a variety of levels: the film’s title alludes to the former address of the Amsterdam Film Academy, subsequently an arts-space squat now legal and licensed where Makino first performed a live version of the film, which features a score by the improvising ensemble Inconsolable Ghost (of which the filmmaker is also a member). If watching Makino’s work begins to put you in mind of the contemporary musical micro-genre known as hauntology, and in particular the work of James Leyland Kirby, a.k.a. The Caretaker, you’ve been frequenting the right crypts. Makino’s work is lush with hauntological shadings: slow drift preferred over propulsion or resolution, a captivation with the beauty of wreckage and ruins, ultramodern yet clinging to the past.

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