Short Movie time: 『朝の夢』 (2019)

Introduction

For our next Short Movie Time, we focus on Shun Ikezoe’s second short movie, which is dedicated to his grandmother, who for him fulfilled the function of mother and raised him with undying affection.

Review

A woman (Yukino Murakami), who was sleeping on the street, wakes up from a dream of a festival she visited in her youth. She wanders around, while reminiscing on her first love, her marriage, giving birth, and meeting the love of her life.

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With Tomorrow’s Dream Shun Ikezoe presents another very personal narrative. This time it is not about his former mother-in-law, ‘sis’, but about the person that for him fulfilled the position of mother, his paternal grandmother. Even though Tomorrow’s Dream feels like a continuation of the exploration of the female figures around Ikezoe’s childhood, the tone of the narrative is totally different. This narrative is not structured around a point of non-knowing like Jujuma (2018), but around a wanting-to-know.

But it is not Ikezoe’s wanting-to-know, a wanting-to-know caused by the impending death of his grandmother, that led to his creation of his narrative, it is his desire to preserve – in first instance for himself – her story in a filmic narrative form. This desire to preserve, to document something of her, something more than just her story, also led Ikezoe to integrate the voice of his grandmother (Teiko Ikezoe) in Tomorrow’s Dream. It is the presence of this voice, a voice not from an actor/actress, that gives Tomorrow’s Dream a very intimate atmosphere and its potential to move the spectator.

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Tomorrow’s Dream is not only an honouring of Ikezoe’s grandmother and her life as she nears her death, it is also an honouring of her importance for the director’s coming-into-existence as well as his coming-into-being as subject. The colour-sequences in the narrative, those evoking the act of giving birth, emphasize life. In fact, these shots have to be read as a subtle celebration of the fact that Teiko Ikezoe’s birth of Shun Ikezoe’s father Hajime created the condition for his birth, for his life as such. And the visual contrast between the emptiness of her rooms and the fullness of the same rooms emphasizes nothing other than the void her absence will leave for Shun Ikezoe.

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Tomorrow’s Dream is, just like his previous narrative, filmed on 8mm film – a Super8 Kodak Tri-x Reversal Film to be precise. While the noise, the subtle vagueness/blurriness, and the shakiness of the frame give Ikezoe’s narrative a similar dreamy quality as Jujuba (2017), the interplay between the real voice of the grandmother and the imagery turns Tomorrow’s dream more into something akin to a fading memory – memory being a fantasmatically structured revaluation of the past by the subject in the present. The fact that Tomorrow’s dream is almost completely shot in black-and-white also emphasizes the dimension of vague fading memories.

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The voice of the grandmother, of course, functions as a narrating voice. The imagery is, in fact, subjected to her story, her signifiers. The narrative is, in other words, structured around her speech. The second narrative voice, voiced by Yukino Murakami, acts as a support for Teiko Ikezoe’s story, e.g. by linking the change of topics.

Tomorrow’s Dream is a very intimate and moving ode to Ikezoe’s grandmother. Through the lens of a personal and truly honest story about love, (giving) life, and death, Ikezoe’s dreamy concatenation of fragments of memories succeeds in evoking in a moving way the fundamental importance of his grandmother for his own life, his real life and his life as subject.

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