“The rather intriguing atmospheric blend of music and imagery shows Artegg-Yumi’s artistic ability and promise to craft narratives that are uniquely hers. “
While Studio-Artegg’s Artegg-Yumi, singer-songwriter, composer and director, focuses mostly on crafting animation for children, she often ventures into the area of non-animated short-movies as well. Artegg-Yumi is furthermore also instrumental in developing her fourteen year old son’s artistic abilities, by assisting him in the crafting of his own cinematographical narratives, like his Eraser Wars (2017). Her son’s artist name is Akira.
Today, we want to introduce and review one of Artegg-Yumi’s latest short movies, One last Time, which she directed, acted in, and composed the music for.
One day, Yui (Artegg-Yumi) accidentally meets Mika (Aahee Kang Asano) in New York. They decide to spend time together. When visiting Cony Island with her friend, Mika realizes her wallet is gone and her bag is empty. Moreover, Mika realizes she has no memory at all from the last few days. Was meeting Mika truly by accident?
The narrative of One Last Time is nothing other than a travel-narrative – this is also evident in the cinematography. As Yui meets Mika, the spectator is taken, due to the gentle classical music that lingers throughout, on a fairly dreamy trip throughout New York. Moreover, the cinematographical flow of the narrative is ‘haunted’ by this rather enticing dreamy atmosphere, an atmosphere that fits the thematic development of the travel-narrative (Cine-note 1).
While the cinematography of One Last Time uses an unsurprising mix of fixed shots and moving shots, there are nevertheless various instances, where the ‘base’ cinematography is intruded by a more expressive blend of shots (e.g. overlaying of shots, colorization of shots, … etc.), that aim to visualize certain emotional states. Additionally, the narrative features sequences, often dream-sequences, that blend computer-graphics with real-life imagery. It is in these more creative sequences that Artegg-Yumi reveals her artistic ability the most and shows the potential to become even better.
Nevertheless, the cinematography is not without faults (cine-note 2) and there are some problems at the level of the sound as well (sound-note 1). The most obvious problem at the level of the sound are those moments where the speech/singing are not completely in accordance with the movement of the lips (sound-note 1). While this lack of accordance often empowers the rather enticing strangeness of the narrative at the level of music and singing, it can be a bit distracting when it happens at the level of speech.
The dreamy atmosphere that lingers throughout the narrative is mainly caused by music that supports the narrative development. As these compositions, some composed by Artegg-Yumi and some by Ma*jid, come to support the concatenation of imagery, the spectator, somewhat disoriented but intrigued, becomes engaged by the atmosphere. In other words, it is this blend of imagery and music, and necessarily the acting, which, in truth, lacks polish and often feels too acted, that trusts the narrative forward (Acting-note 1).
While the areas for improvement in One Last Time are clear and evident – many problems caused by the low-budget nature of the narrative, the rather intriguing atmospheric blend of music and imagery shows Artegg-Yumi’s artistic ability and promise to craft narratives that are uniquely hers.
Cine-note 1: This dreamy aspect is also directly present in the cinematographical approach. Towards the end of the narrative, the focus is put on the background, making the characters appear somewhat blurry.
Cine-Note 2: In one instance, the continuity of a scene is broken as the space between Mika’s friend and Mika is suddenly much closer than the previous shots showed.
One could say that the first half of the narrative often uses touristy-shots too much. Nevertheless, these shots do not bother the flow of the narrative too much and in a way they even empower the narrative twist.
Sound-note 1: The narrative often overlays different soundtracks. In some instances the stopping of a soundtrack is too audible, thus breaking the flow of sounds and, sometimes, the continuity of the narrative space.
Sound-note 2: The lack of lip-sync reveals that Artegg-Yumi shot during normal daily life – the living-breathing world as set – without having professional sound-equipment.
Acting-note 1: It would be incorrect not to mention that the acting does help to establish the dreamy atmosphere of the narrative.