SHORT FOCUS 2018: Inori (Prayer) [Nobumichi Asai, Japan, 2017]
The 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami is the inspiration behind this technically mind-blowing and visually powerful short performance film. Inori utilises state of the art face mapping and projection technology to explore the harrowing effects of the colossal natural disaster from which Japan has yet to fully recover.
The video starts with two faces in blank expression as (projected) black tears begin to run from their eyes. The stuttered repetition of the electronic score matches perfectly the movement of the light caressing the two women’s faces as they both gently wriggle their fingers and hands upwards, perhaps symbolising the suddenly toxic contamination of the atmosphere within which they are imagined. The tears morph into skulls, the dancers’ countenances now resembling moving x-rays as the innocuous white backdrop violently flashes to a striking blood red.
Here the creeping techno rhythm finds its tempo and the skeleton-like dancers throw shapes and glower to the camera with deathly expressionlessness, reminding us of the tragic effects of the horrific radiation leaks that occurred following damage to a neighbouring power plant in Fukushima. In just one minute, Inori manages to be provocative, innovative and considerate in a way that many films would struggle to achieve in twenty minutes. The film is an outstanding accomplishment and was a popular favourite in the Short Focus 2018 program.
'Inori (Prayer)' was part of the Official Selection at Short Focus Film Festival 2018.