Trees Of Syntax, Leaves Of Axis

Trees Of Syntax, Leaves Of Axis


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Ten minutes of flashing, strobing, hand processed film of maple trees with an improvisational violin score. Repetitive glimpses of light through leaves, the stabs of a violin in squalling protest.

At times this film seems almost to have been painted with an impressionist's eye. As it continues the cuts become more rapid, the suggestion of after-images, it never quite becomes clear. That's not to say it doesn't have it moments that stun; when rhythm comes it's a mythical faedom. Did we see a people walking by? A glimpse of grass or a glimpse of the sky?

Some moments appear decayed, shot through burning film; seen again in profound overexposure, seared by light rather than flame. There are moments that might be faces or merely the opportunity for pareidolia. Malcolm Goldstein's score, a structured improvisation called Hues Of The Spectrum, makes use of the violin's ability to raise hackles. Dachi Sato's film is striking, the flicker of light through trees like rolling down a forested lane. Its flirtation with pattern is at times frustrating, a feature it has in common with many films shown in Edinburgh's Black Box programming over the years. However, its tendency to the stroboscopic does somewhat over-shadow the rest of the work. As a film it might have benefited from making the genesis of its structures more explicit, and while its improvisatory nature implies rules it doesn't confirm them. That said, the hint of rules without guarantee that they are being followed does make for an almost hallucinatory experience that suggests tricksters of mythology. For all the scientific and grammatical pretence of the title, this is closer to tales that suggest something 'other' can be found in the woods.

Reviewed on: 22 Sep 2010
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Examination of maple trees set to a contrapuntal violin score.
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Director: Daichi Saito

Year: 2009

Runtime: 10 minutes

Country: Canada


EIFF 2010

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