Lumphini 2552


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Lumphini 2552
"Three minutes that are thing and un-thing, a flicker of stillness."

Initially it appears black and white noise, until it is seen that these are leaves from above, branches and trunks a juddering whirl. The eyes watch in vain.

This is not growth, timelapsed. Still images of Bangkok's Lumphini park have been hand-processed by Tomonari Nishikawa into a mesmeric ordeal.

Copy picture

The sound is a buffeting nonsense, static. Apparently visual information rendered sonically, an artifact of the transfer from still to motion. So too the rest of the film. It is three minutes that are thing and un-thing, a flicker of stillness.

Lumphini is from the Sanskrit, Buddha's birthplace in Nepal. 2009 translates to that calendar as 2552. Some have suggested that the repetition of numbers may refer to the fact that 35mm still film becomes two frames for a 35mm movie. It could also be that the film is palindromic, but one would be hard pressed to tell. There are, near the end, silhouettes, but it cannot be certain that there were. They might be phantoms conjured in a search for sense, or even echoes of ones missed in the start, the aural assault, a distracting wind blowing the impenetrable leaves before it. It might even be a koan, a film that is not a film, something that occupies the space where a movie is. In an installation it might be possible to look away, indeed, one is almost compelled to - in screenings of films such as this it at times appears one is watching a picture that has this picture in it, the baleful skitter of light and shadow across the audience becoming a thing of dreadful import, and that notion once planted is hard to escape. One's attention is drawn back to the screen to try to draw meaning, to retreat from that imagined recursion. Lumphini 2552 offers no succour, no solution. The eyes watch in vain.

Reviewed on: 22 Sep 2010
Share this with others on...
Avant garde film using still photography captured in Bangkok's Lumphini Park.
Amazon link

Director: Tomonari Nishikawa

Year: 2009

Runtime: 3 minutes

Country: Thailand


EIFF 2010

Search database:

If you like this, try:

Trees Of Syntax, Leaves Of Axis