"Ma" is not the woman who birthed me!
October 22, 2012
This movie is fascinating, captivating, haunting, poignant, and at least that many more adjectives I can't even think of. But this film was, to me, unique. It was a combination of a documentary, a biography, and a short story, exquisitely directed and photographed. This assignment was to identify two places in the movie where music and drama were enhanced by the reading of Wade's book. It was almost impossible to narrow the search down to two moments. I immediately recalled, in terms of the book, the extensive discussion of "Japaneseness", gendai ongaku, and ma. The term "ma" and its explanation on pg. 160 pricked my concience and piqued my curiosity. As I watched the video on YouTube, I did my best to look at the "in between", and it changed my perceptions in a startling way. There are many aspects of the viewing experience that struck me; the "grayness" of the film, the somber nature of the narration, the stark use of the piano as the solo instrumnent(and such an integral part of Japan's musical culture), the "peeling back of the curtain" when changing scenes, the wind through the trees, the copious use of silence and darkness...But if forced to choose two specific moments during the film where my recent reading, the movie's music, and the dramatic story all collided, I'd have to say it was the places where the wind was the only sound, and the trees were the only sight. To me, these instances gave one time to think, reflect, and process in a minute, snapshot fashion what one had just felt. Those were the seconds I breathed in the "Japaneseness" and felt somehow enriched and satisfied.