The screaming philosopher
It was in the middle of the summer 2008, I received a long email from a Japanese ‘fan’. Looked like it was just some lovely words, advising me to film a Japanese musician, a certain rare folk artist named Tomokawa something. It took me 4 more months to re-read the email until the end – and discover that this fan was actually inviting me to Japan to make a movie about his idol.
We went there for 2 weeks, in March 2009, and this filming experience was by far the most important of my life. Kazuki Tomokawa, that’s his name, 59 years old man, at first the exact idea you could get of a cinema character straight from a yakuza movie, a guitar in his hand and a scream in his mouth. But then the camera allows you to explore more and makes you discover the multiple layers of his existence and belief in life, his past as an actor for Oshima or Miike, his passion for bike race gambling, his unstoppable addiction to alcohol, his amazing skills as a painter, and his troubled past with his son, you soon got the feeling there’s only one Kazuki Tomokawa. As there was only one Rimbaud.
The other day, while working on the edit of ‘La Faute des Fleurs’, a friend of mine was helping to translate certain sequences. At some point, she would suddenly burst into tears. At the question what happened, she turned to me and said, “it’s the way he speaks… he is like a poem”.
Tomokawa, the screaming philosopher.
October 2009, Vincent Moon
< Musicians of Our Times, Episode 2 >
La Faute des Fleurs — a portrait of Kazuki Tomokawa
A film by Vincent Moon
With Kazuki Tomokawa
Eito Nozoki (Son), Naoki Ohzeki (Manager), Hideo Ikeezumi (Producer, PSF Records), Masato Kato (Writer), Yasuki Fukushima (Poet), Toshiaki Ishizuka (Musician, Zuno-Keisatsu), Masato Nagahata (Musician, Pascals)
Story by Teresa Eggers and Vincent Moon
Sounds by Gaspar Claus and Teresa Eggers
Mix by Gaspar Claus
Edited by Vincent Moon and Lucas Archambault
Produced by Temporary Areas and Modest Launch
Japanese with English subtitle / 2009 / Japan / Color / 70min.
Sound and Vision Award 2009 winner at Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (CPH: DOX 2009)
Taking it’s name from the Tomokawa album ‘Fault of Flowers‘ (1993 / PSF RECORD) , the album ‘La Faute des Fleurs’ is his first solo record after a seven year hiatus. The record features the song ‘My Flower’, inspired by Norio Nagayama’s poem ‘Muchi no namida’ (Tears of ignorance).
Vincent Moon wins Sound and Vision Award 2009 at Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival for ‘La Faute des Fleurs’.
A very moving film about a true artist! I can’t remember the last time I saw such a beautiful documentary.
This is what we said when we presented the award at the show Saturday night:
The jury sat in the cinema together. As the film ended, the silence from having experienced something unique and complete, left us for a while with no words. Filed by emotions – nothing to add. Then someone whispered in the dark ‘I think we have a winner’ and the rest of us agreed on the spot.
This is a film that goes beyond musical taste, and right in to the human soul.
The filmmaker leads us with his precise and sensitive camera through a beautiful, poetic and ruthless journey of a man driven to create by his inner demons.
It’s skillfully edited, fluid in structure but still with a narrative voice. It gives the insight to an inspiring artist, and the man behind the art.
And respectfully reveals the pains and consequences for living as an outsider to the norms of society.
17th Nov. 2009, Kenneth Nguyen