Jujuba

****1/2

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

There is something ageless to Jujuba, a sense of time and place brought about by the medium upon which it has been shot. A deepness and distortion of colour, "a stew as red as a lake of blood," an episodic and autobiographical tale of memory, of a step-mother's arrival, departure.

Experimental film (literally so, here) is often dependent on material external to the work for context - Jujuba is dreamy and inconstant, blurred and grainy with the ring of truth without - but stronger for knowing things that only come with the brochure. The tale it tells is told well enough, but this is a film that has paid close attention to process. Shot on 8mm, but more importantly vintage, expired, abandonment and reclamation of material from the past add a quality of light to this that found footage would not.

In three rough segments, this act of chemical intermediation (I can only salute the bravery of Shun Ikezoe for shooting on expired stock) becomes most metatextual in karaoke. Subtitled on two axes, with text projected upon the singer, the layers of meaning (literally!) were breath-taking.

The deep colour of reversal film means that the rich redness of the titular Chinese dates is made more certain by description than immediate perception, but the uncertainty of it adds to its oneiric quality. In digging I discovered the genus (family important here) is Ziziphus - derived from the Persian it has no connection to the Ephyran king whose work could never quite summit.

For all Ikezoe's work (writing/directing/editing/etcetera) in this début, with help in sound and music from Izumi Matsuno and Hakobune, these efforts are far less futile - indeed the closest to the myth we would expect is repetition of quality.

Reviewed on: 20 Mar 2019
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The shiny red skin of the jujube brings back vague memories of the director's stepmother, recreated on expired film.

Director: Shun Ikezoe

Writer: Shun Ikezoe

Year: 2018

Runtime: 8 minutes

Country: Japan

Festivals:

GSFF 2019

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