Shinya Kumazaki and Hideki Yoshida's Silent Echoes starts on a tense note - a black void - devoid of images, bursting with sound. Visual rather than verbal, the echoes noted in the title are reflected through the performers' sepia-toned shadows that dance across the screen throughout the film's duration.
The ending scene - filled with inescapable suspense by the gradual building of rumbling music - nods towards an ancient ritual of some kind but who the ritual is for and why it's being practised are questions left unanswered. Is this a fantasy? Or is this real life? Editorial assistant Christina Donoghue sets out to find out some answers, speaking with the film's directors Hideki Yoshida and Shinya Kumazaki.
Christina Donoghue: How did you get into fashion film and filmmaking as a whole?
Hideki Yoshida: I built my career by starting out as a spatial designer before moving into beauty photography. Before long, I started to embrace a broader range of art practices and activities, which helped advance my own filmmaking practice. For me, fashion film and filmmaking are ways I can easily express all forms of creativity - engaging different art domains and integrating them through one singular practice.
Shinya Kumazaki: I'm a make-up artist by trade, but I also learned how to direct and edit to enhance my artistic expression. It's great to see the characters I've created, through the use of make-up, come alive on screen through the correct light and edit.
CD: What are your everyday inspirations?
HY: Very small things that happen in everyday life and mainly nature. I'm easily intrigued by wild fantasies and discoveries that are either happy accidents or come from a place of misconception and misunderstanding.
SK: Humanity and Nature
CD: How did you come up with the concept for Silent Echoes, and what challenges did you overcome (if any) when translating this concept visually?
HY: Silent Echoes is the title of my folding screen work with dolphins - which is used in the backdrop for stage effect. It reflects the view of reincarnation, something that is handed down eternally. As I grew and pursued my Japanese identity, I took pride in being inspired by the notion of 'hear things that you don't see and gaze at things you don't hear' by going back in time.
SK: I'm interested in people's face's, how much they can differ and how much they can also look so similar. My images are part of a collaboration with Hideki's artwork concept 'REINCARNATION'.
CD: What do you hope for the viewer to learn or take away from Silent Echoes?
HY: To appreciate the beauty in everything but most of all - in opposite aspects. Such as reflective light and shadows that can cover a person's face. I also want the viewer to reflect on individual beauty too.
SK: That you are beautiful as you are.
CD: There are a lot of references to ancient folklore in your film. Are these references intentional? If so, why?
HY: Yes. They highlight my observation of Japanese culture from an exclusionary lens. They look at Japanese culture objectively and from every angle. The back and the front, the taboos too, it's all there.
SK: Yes, because MIRI is Japanese and her beauty is timeless, in the same way that the beauty of ancient folklore practices are also timeless.
CD: What did you want to achieve when making Silent Echoes?
HY: For one, it is a challenge in itself for me to advance into the next step of my artistic practice by incorporating my filmmaking with other art genres, widening my scope of expression. It is also a way to pursue my own identity and outlook of the world. By being a Japanese, who's delving deep into Japanese aesthetics, I hope to illustrate Japan's rich and unique culture.
SK: Always thinking about what I can do and tell the world as a Japanese make-up artist.