Screening and Directors’ Talk
Chain of Life: The Artistry of Mokuhanzome Kimono Dying
A Screening and Director’s Talk by Kaori Ishii
Date: Friday, February 10, 7 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm)
Location: The Japan Foundation , Toronto
Address: 131 Bloor St. W. , 2nd Floor
RSVP Required: www.jftor.org/whatson/rsvp.php or (416) 966-1600 x104
Language: Japanese with English subtitles/translation
Director Kaori Ishii will be present for a screening of her documentary on hand-stamped kimono dying, Chain of Life. She will talk about her experience making the film and the ancient craft of mokuhanzome.
This movie examines the hands of an artisan who uses cherry blossom wood stamps to transform a solid piece of fabric into a kimono. By following the process from start to finish, we experience the life of an artisan.
Yoshikazu Fujimoto once saw a small piece of fabric when he was an apprentice of Edo komon paper pattern dyeing, a popular dyeing technique in Japan . This piece of fabric used the oldest dyeing technique in history, called Mokuhanzome (wood print dyeing). Although this technique had once almost become extinct, in the artisan's eyes, it appeared as something entirely new.
That was where his exploration of the technique began. He secretly pursued the study of the technique behind his master’s back, and after he became independent as a professional artisan, he continued studying for six years. The road to mastering mokuhanzome, an art which had almost disappeared in Japan , was long, lonesome, and tough. Still, the artisan took this road, step by step, slowly but surely. And still to this date, he continues his journey.
It is not an exaggeration to say that there are only two ways to learn about the wood stamp dyeing technique: either go to a studio in Japan and spend a few days with an artisan, or watch this film. This film is a must-see for anyone who studies dyeing, fashion, art, culture or craftsmanship.
About the Artisan, Yoshikazu Fujimoto
Born in 1936. After graduating from high school, Mr. Fujimoto studied Edo-komon fabric printing for five years as an unpaid, live-in apprentice to the Japanese traditional crafts artisan Magobei Ishii. Although there are currently only two or three official wood print dyeing masters left in Japan , Mr. Fujimoto continues to pass on and protect its tradition. He has won numerous awards hosted by the Japan Textile Finishers Association, including a record of two grand prizes.
About the Director, Kaori Ishii:
2004-2005 graduated from scenario writing school and film school in Tokyo .
2005 won a prize at the Abeno Human Documentary Film Festival in Osaka .
2005-2007 recorded stage dramas directed by Tadashi Suzuki.
2007 directed Chain of Life, which screened in Tokyo , Japan for 3 weeks and in many film festivals around Japan .
2007 Chain of Life was an official selection for the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in Arkansas
2008 started making clay animation at Keita Funamoto Puppet and Clay Animation School .
2009 directed TV drama, web drama and a new documentary film theme about friendship between Japan and China after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
2010 Chain of Life was an official selection for Video Act: Japanese Documentary Film Now, in Manila , Philippines . (Organized by The Japan Foundation .)
Present: working on a documentary film about sea salt, which has been gathered in Japan for 400 years.
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