Marvelous Movie Mondays: Ikebana

EPFC | May 29th, 2019


guest curator: Karen Azoulay

For the month of May, I will be posting a selection of films that are punctuated with floral and bomb imagery. Flowers can be used to remind us of vulnerability, mortality and the fleeting nature of time. This motif is paired with the brief and the sudden depiction of a bomb. A blooming mushroom cloud clearly evokes war, fear and death. Contextualizing the films within a specific historical moment and place, we cannot forget the political reality that each film was created in.

My final selection is Ikebana, 1956 directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara

This film is a fascinating look into the creative work of the director’s father. Sōfu Teshigahara was a master of ikebana (the Japanese art of arranging flowers) and a sculptor. It’s part traditional documentary, and part experimental film. Along with a general history of ikebana, there are countless stunning floral compositions.

The film concludes with a sudden shift in tone – the mushroom cloud of an atomic detonation. Both the director and subject of this film lived through the aftermath of the horrific bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This dark turn contextualizes the film within the political reality of mid-century Japan.