KanZeOn is a film that is part documentary and part sensory exploration of sound. Largely filmed on the island of Kyushu, far from the bright lights of Tokyo, it provides a rarely seen view of Japanese culture through religious rituals and extraordinary musical spectacle, inviting the audience to immerse into an unconventional and transformative world. The film looks at three very special musicians so as to explore the role that sound plays in Japanese religion – they are:
* Tatsumi Akinobu: a young Buddhist priest and custodian of a temple outside of Kumamoto City, who moonlights as a hip-hop DJ while indulging his love of beat-boxing in remote forests.
* Fujii Eri: a devotee of an instrument called the Sho, a rare and ancient Chinese bamboo wind instrument that she describes as evoking the cry of the phoenix.
* Iitomi Akihiro: a performer and teacher of the kotsuzumi shoulder drum within Noh theatre, whose love of jazz is almost equal to his passion for preserving traditional Japanese performing arts.
Please click here to see the film’s trailer - KanZeOn.
Specially for JNTO London office's website, the film’s directors Neil Cantwell and Tim Grabham have put together a list of some of the spectacular but hard to find locations that feature in the film, together with accompanying map links for anyone who may wish to visit them – you can see the full list here, but here are three examples to give you an idea.
Hinokuni Bashi, literally translatable as ‘Fire Country Bridge’, this rope bridge is somewhere that the young priest Tatsumi likes to go with his microphone and speaker to give an alfresco beatbox performance.
Anamori-jinja is a remarkable Shinto shrine located at the entrance to a cave that is said to be the legendary home of a serpent who incarnated itself as a person to meet a local princess. The conclusion and climax of the film is Fujii Eri and her husband giving an incredible performance inside the cave itself.
The garden of Komyozen-ji is said to be one of the three finest in the whole of Japan, and we were fortunate enough to be able to conduct an interview with Iitomi Akihiro within its environs, as he explained the relation of Zen Buddhism to Japanese performing arts.
Following its London premiere at the ICA as the opening film of Zipangu Fest in 2011, KanZeOn has played on four continents and continues to find audiences around the world. The film is now available to buy as a limited edition double disc DVD/CD, featuring music from the film’s soundtrack as well as the KanZeOn ReIndications project: a series of remixes created from audio footage recorded during the five weeks of filming that took place in Japan. Selected artists from Japan and Europe – woob, kidkanevil, tatsuki*, ta2mi, ManOne and shi_ne_ko_sei – were tasked with transporting these age old religious sounds into modern musical styles. In addition to these audio remixes, there is also an audiovisual remix of the film itself which has been created by amoeba.av – an internationally acclaimed designer and AV artist working across Europe as part of the Scottish video art collective AAA. This audiovisual remix will shortly be available to see as part of a series of live cinema events taking place around the country.
Please click here
to visit a blog for the film or click here for more information about the KanZeOn DVD/CD