(16mm, colour, silent, 3 mins)
Shot in the Ritsurin Gardens, Takamatsu, Japan, the film is formed of tightly framed scenes of a gardener as she prunes a pine tree's branches and shoots - obscured by the tree she is working on, the image only suggests the activity taking place.
This activity however is at the heart of the wider panoramic view of the garden. It represents the innumerable tiny decisions that over many years cumulatively create the garden's overall appearance.
The garden, one of the largest in Japan and formally recognised as a site of 'special scenic beauty', is a 'strolling garden' - to be enjoyed by walking from one specific vantage point to another from which to best appreciate the painstakingly designed view.
The guiding principle is one of 'ippo ikkei'; 'one step, one scene'. The garden includes 1,400 pine trees, virtually all of them continuously pruned, like a bonsai tree, to reduce their height to only around three to four metres and to model them into complex spiralling and box like shapes.
The film is presented largely as it was shot, simply assembled with a few splices, and a relationship is suggested between the formation of the garden from these extremely specific decisions of the gardener, and the editing of film reels into spliced fragments, to form a whole.
A FILM BY GRAHAM ELLARD & STEPHEN JOHNSTONE
Shot in the Ritsurin Gardens, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan.
Grading and Printing
HAGHEFILM DIGITAAL, Amsterdam
Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan
Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
SPECIAL THANKS TO
Hiroko Suwaki (the gardener)