When invited to Barcelona's Center for Contemporary Culture (CCCB) in 2008, Catalan filmmaker and film critic Isaki Lacuesta (43) nominates Naomi Kawase, six years older than her, to start filmed correspondence. This is a dialogue of short films with this Japanese filmmaker whose work he admires since the discovery of his sublime Shara a feature film with an elliptical staging, released on screens in 2003. The exchange, which runs from August 2008 to July 2009, is presented in the wake of the Locarno festival, then exposed two years later to the CCCB , and on the occasion of their joint retrospective, deployed here soberly in a facility at the Pompidou Center.
Dreams crossed. So there are seven screen-letters, seven moments, seven little visual haikus that we approach, curious, to hear: "If I knew you, I would not tell you all that." The first "letter" entitled Wake up slowly, makes us leave the port of Girona with Lacuesta (homeland of the author, who still lives there with his wife) via an asynchronous soundtrack of the image. The litany of ferries and other small boats hitting each other covers a marked voyage of crossed dreams, stories that are not alike, superimpositions and legends, like that of a man whose house was built on the border between the Russia and Poland: if someone asks him where he lives, he usually responds "Poland", because it is less cold. Then the filmmaker lingers on the skin of his wife, epidermis marked to be so much under the sheets.
Naomi Kawase also delivers her daily life, with a more solemn writing and a more faithful transcription of temporality, just like the way she has to simply name these missives from the date she "wrote them". "We offer prayers all the time in my country," she told him. The candles burn on the screen, the incantations envelop us.
Coincidences. Born in Nara and abandoned by her two parents, the Japanese filmmaker remains profoundly marked by the absence, the birth, the disappearance, the wounds that heal in the reassuring, green and obscure depths of nature. Themes that shudder and draw the contours of his fiction, as his most beautiful portraits: we think of those of Uno, his adopted great aunt she renamed "grandmother", and that she will accompany even in death with the ultimate Chiri (2012).
Like Kawase, Lacuesta dwells on destinies that intersect, overlap, to weave bonds and coincidences between existences whose meeting – or even destiny – seems delicately guided by the power of images and the magic of cutting . The two filmmakers eventually join each other (in Banyoles, Spain): from this confrontation, all that remains are accidentally poorly exposed images, as if, in the shock of this face-to-face, the real took a hit, leave to burn.
Naomi Kawase and Isaki Lacuesta, Corresponding filmmakers Center Pompidou, 75004. Until January 7th. Rens. : www.centrepompidou.fr