A female director from Japan is in Saigon, preparing to shoot a film when her male lead suddenly leaves. She begins to rethink the meaning of the resonances and exchanges she has experienced in the city, leading her to perceive the images in front of her more clearly. Unexpected encounters and planned arrivals — these two almost contradictory concepts oscillate in her mind interchangeably. What she feels is not a remembrance of the past, but the future. The traces Saigon has left on her body form a sculpture without dimensions.
Sappukei is a Japanese term, a composite of the words Satsu (kill) and Fukei (landscape). The word’s original meaning refers to the destruction of beautiful scenery, which in turn causes people to lose the joyful feelings that they would experience while appreciating it. During a trip to Saigon, I originally planned to film a man at a grocery store. However, he left and I was unable to continue filming, leading me to re-examine the process through which I was perceiving things. I began to ask myself, how might I depict a person's departure? So I took the camera back to the original shooting locations, but noticed different details, different scenes. If my first subject had not left, would this scenery never have appeared in my life? Or might it have taken on a different tone? The difficulty of approaching an encounter lies in its complexity and mutability, its meaning is often hard to predict. It is always years later, when I look back, that I suddenly realize how important my original decisions were. When filming, I often have the feeling that the scenes in front of my eyes were already there, waiting for me to discover them. In sudden and unexpected encounters, which break free and look beyond the shackles of a linear timeline, there is an image that gradually moves from disorder to order. If you stare at a person or landscape for an extended period of time, you forget the illusion of linear time, and enter full consciousness. Your perception of every gesture and every event will leave its mark on our body in an imperceptible way. Sappukei’s act of destruction is an act of resistance against our limited innate consciousness, in order to clear an open path to true consciousness—that is to say, full perception. Scenery creates spaces, and allows events to occur. All processes leave behind traces, which continuously overlap, repeat, and mutate, forming a unique sculpture: the cyclical process of encounter. Finally, by the time I left Saigon, I deeply understood that I was not rushing towards the future; rather the future was careening towards me.
Festivals & Awards
2022 FIDMarseille - Flash Competition Award
2022 BFI London Film Festival - Experimenta