In this beautiful spring, let’s talk about death. Yes, death.
Though we rarely put its name in our mouths, it follows closely behind our every mundane action, in the news, on our table, the edges of our bodies, as an inseparable part of life.
How do we encounter death?
In this year’s opening programme Songs of Mourning
, Asian Movie Night presents four films that take us on a poetic journey into questions that art has been trying to grasp since the beginning of time, meditating on death, mourning and loss, or even healing, strength and joy, each in its own unique tune.
In the magical realist short Together Apart (2019, CN)
, a woman finds her husband wandering around their house soon after his funeral. In the feature film Ode to Nothing (2018, PH)
, we follow an embalmer and her unusual encounter with an older woman’s corpse. -1287 (2014, JP)
is a moving documentary that follows Kazuko as she comes to terms with her oncoming death and her thoughts on life, love, and money. Finally, Jinpa (2018, CN)
is a Tibetan-language film on a stoic truck driver and his fateful encounter with a goat and a hitchhiker on a morbid mission. The four selections encounter death in the face of diverse cultural contexts and narratives, going beyond the taboo.
The four films will be screened in Amsterdam’s Filmhuis Cavia on May 19th and 20th and in Arnhem at Focus Filmtheater on May 31st.
Join us after the screening of -1287 in Amsterdam on May 20th, where there will be an after-talk with filmmaker Thoams Ash
and Mourning School
’s initiator Lucie Gottlieb
, as well as in Arnhem on May 31st a talk with artist G
alongside films Together Apart and Ode to Nothing.
PROGRAM of CAVIA Amsterdam
20:30 Short introduction
20:35 Screening of Together Apart
21:20 Screening of Jinpa
22:45 End of screening
20:30 Short introduction
20:35 Screening of -1287
21:45 After-talk with Thomas Ash & Mourning School
22:15 End of event
€5,- / Cineville card free
It’s not possible to make reservations. Tickets can be bought at the bar half an hour before the film starts.
PROGRAM of FOCUS Arnhem
19:00 Short introduction
19:05 Screening of Together Apart
19:50 Talk with artist G
20:20 Screening of Ode to Nothing
22:00 End of screening
€9.50 (Korting €7.50, Student €7.00)
Cineville card free
dir. Qu Youjia / 2020 / CN / 45’ / EN subs
Chinese funerals require much preparation: a three-day wake and various rituals precede the cremation. In the opening shots of this magical realist film, the widow returns home drained and starts tidying up the house, only to encounter her deceased husband casually sauntering down the stairs. She soon readopts a familiar routine: dressing him warmly, measuring his blood pressure and bickering with him. This absurd premise soon develops when visitors from the afterlife are expected and the daughter starts getting involved. As she seeks to solve the impossible situation, grandson Jiajia seems to be the only one unquestioningly embracing grandad's return. All shot in long, composed takes, replete with understated humour and tender reflections on family, loneliness, memory and the passing of time.
dir. Pema Tseden / 2018 / CN / 86’ / EN subs
On an isolated road passing through the vast barren plains of Tibet, a truck driver, who has accidentally run over a sheep, chances upon a young man, who is hitching a ride. As they drive and chat, the truck driver notices that his new friend has a silver dagger strapped to his leg. He comes to understand that his man is out to kill someone, who wronged him earlier in life. As he drops the hitchhiker off at a fork in the road, little does the truck driver realize that their short time together has changed everything, and that their destinies are inexorably intertwined.
dir. Thomas Ash / 2017 / JP / 70’ / EN subs
During deeply intimate conversations with the filmmaker after she learns she is going to die, Kazuko challenges cultural and social norms speaking candidly about her own life and death while she grapples with what it means to be honest and live happily. As she nears the end of her life, through observations about love, money, marriage and death, Kazuko develops a deeper intimacy both with herself and the filmmaker, while inviting the viewer to deeply consider their own life. And death.
Ode to Nothing
dir. Dwein Baltazar / 2018 / PH / 92’ / EN subs
Sonya is a living ghost, struggling to keep her family-owned funeral home afloat. Lonely and thoroughly alienated by an insistent bailiff, she wanders inside her own house, leaning heavily on her favorite Chinese song, recorded on a broken cassette tape, to get through the hours and days… Until an unexpected corpse lands, rather illicitly, at her doorstep. Developing a unique relationship with the unclaimed body, she becomes fascinated by the cadaver’s absorbing mystique.
In his films, Thomas Ash
broadly focuses on issues surrounding health and medicine, including two feature documentaries about children living in areas of Fukushima contaminated by the 2011 nuclear meltdown, ‘In the Grey Zone‘ (2012) and ‘A2-B-C‘ (2013). His recent work has focused on death and dying and includes ‘-1287‘ (2014) and ‘Sending Off’ (2019). Thomas served as Executive Producer of ‘Boys for Sale’ (2017, dir: Itako), a documentary about male sex workers in Tokyo.
Mourning School (Initiator Lucie Gottlieb)
is an artistic study program on the notion of being in grief as the stuff of our everyday life, initiated by Lucie Gottlieb and Rosa Paardenkooper. In a series of exhibitions, public programming and publications, we imagine new ways of collective mourning to give name to, and make space for the feelings that come with death, dying, loss and mourning. The vulnerability of life – threatened by climate, health, political, social and economic crises resulting in inequity and precarity, loneliness and isolation – makes the proximity to death and loss more tangible. Central to Mourning School lies the question: who gets to live and die, who is remembered and who is deemed ungrievable? In response, Mourning School proposes queerness, in its most expansive form, as a method and framework to subvert and unsettle Western understanding and norms of death and mourning – as an individual problem or medical diagnosis – and the stigma that surrounds them.
G is an artist based between Amsterdam and London.
‘ONGOING’ – 2023 (Updated accordingly & when necessary)
Luton, The Galaxy, The Mall.
Mourning, natural death. Graveyards. Urns. Trinkets. Raves. Dancefloors.
The 'Anti Bio’.
‘Non performers’, ‘Non Dancers’ everything that we are told we are not good at or need a qualification for.
Humour x 10000000000000000000000000
FREE ART SCHOOLS. FUNDING 4 ALL
Sculptures made in a day
Care as a necessary tool
The internet (beware 2nd hand information and the vacuous).
Performance as a survival technique.
Shouting in the countryside.
Dancing instead of talking.
My Mother and Father (RIP). Sci Fi as a survival technique.
Grinding my hips as slow as I can (Sam I love you).
Dressing up as other things.
Friends above the age of 70yrs old.
My forever ongoing Death Doulaship training (Be weary of it ever being done)
Keeping naval gazing in check.