Ascent

(2016) ***

Fiona Tan was nominated for the Rotterdam Film Festival for “History’s Future”. I’m not sure how did she manage to release two docs at the same year (in fact I can imagine, since they are different processes) but I went and watched this session that is closer to my workplace – and the theme that is closer to my life. For the basis of this film, she gathered about 4,500 pictures of the Mount Fuji in Japan, of over 150 years of history.

Though I thought it felt too long (maybe due to the very nature of the project, since her motion pictures are more pictures than motion) I actually enjoyed the feeling of being transported by these means of capturing time that is photography and let myself really imagine climbing up that Fuji mountain while thinking of the many stories told, including old tales of princesses and a monk who died of fasting, or the old times during war and the beginning of photos in Japan. It’s funny how sometimes our eyes let themselves be deceived and we have the impression to be seing the image move, when it is in fact not so, and to notice how the narration adds to the pictures being displayed instead of simply throwing philosophies at us but trying to make links.

I’ve loved to imagine the clouds at the top of the mountain as the smoke from burnt letters, to feel like I was there at the top watching the sun come up, to remember spring times and think of the passing of time, to be surprised by black and white photos that reminded me of “Hiroshima, mon amour” (1959)**** only to the next second start hearing a piece of its dialogue, to know more about how Godzilla was not just a toy.

“the essence of the flower is to fall”

Like the buddhist saying that nothing is permanent, all life is destined to change and to an end at some time, however the mountain seems the same, so many have been up and down, someone’s time had been up and down… But there is also beauty in it, right?

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