In collaboration with the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Tomoyasu Murata's A Branch of a Pine Is Tied Up (2017) is showing exclusively on MUBI from July 9 - August 8, 2018 as part of the series Competing at Oberhausen.
I have worked on a series that will consist of five puppet animations, portraying the view of Mujo on the subjects of prayer, chronicling and faith. This latest film entitled A Branch a Pine Tied up is the third work of the series.
In the film, I employ motifs that I used at my solo show 2 in 2009: “Yin and Yang,” “this life and afterlife”, “uniform twins” and “faults and faults”. These motifs represent “emotion, memory and faith” for Japanese. This story simultaneously depicts the phenomenon that is caused by the huge force in the collision of faults and the psychological phenomenon of twin girls. I symbolically puts the two paired things in the work: turning on / off the switch, overlapping two pictures, a shrine in the space between two rocks, the twin Magatama which is known as the Curved Jewel, and two things what we can see and cannot see.
The Japanese archipelago is a unique island formed by about 2000 active faults. They cause huge earthquakes all over in Japan in 100-year, 300-year, 500-year and 1000-year units. The earthquake caused the most serious damage in Japan on March 11, 2011 is one of the huge earthquakes that occur at intervals of a hundred years. Everyone was just stunned by the images we have never seen before of a tsunami attacking. Nearly 18,000 people died. I felt rather powerless and prayed deeply for the victims of the tragedy.
Like “praying for the souls” means “praying for happiness after death,” the concept of prayer does not mean that God itself has an important position for Japanese. Traditionally, Japanese pray for inheriting and carrying on the tradition of the unforgettable events and important events that occurred in person or the area for a long time.
In ancient times, Japanese had built the culture of diverse prayer by regarding various kinds of nature such as mountain, sea, forest, rock, big tree, fire and water as gods. I put “pray” on the all works in the series as a central concept because I realized that “praying” is deeply related to Japanese culture and history from my experience of the earthquake.
Suggesting the relationship between Japanese archipelago and Japanese identity with these symbols, I attempt to show the images of Japanese that re-realize the history of Japanese faith, accept that the riches and harshness of nature always change, respect nature, and get the benefits from nature. This film centers the concept to describe the great earthquake as a new life and epic poetry that passed on to new generation.