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films of Shusei NISHI

 3 songs for dreams of light(35mm, 71min., color, 2001)

producer & director: Shusei NISHI
screenplay : Shusei NISHI 
staff : Cinematographer : Eduard Moshikovich ("The Scent of Rose"), Bak Ki Ung ("Angel with a trumpet " amd "The Last Sunset")  


Lin Jyon Ho as a young Asian, Mariya Kashirnikova as a white girl("The Scent of Rose")  
Yana Eshipovich as Vera, Alexandr Pykhalov as a young man, Alexandr Kochubei as Vera's father("Angel with a trumpet") 

Rostislav Bershauer as Sasha, Nina Bol'shukhina as Liza, Yuri Sokolov as Andrey, Arsen Amspuryants an Old Blind ("The Last Sunset")


 The film is a omnibus from 3 shorts, which were all made by the author from1997 to 1999, while he was studying in VGIK(All Russian State Institute of Cinematography) . In all 3 films the common motif is dream as mystical moment of life, when man is in touch with the another reality( More details about each shorts see


Angels in a Dream

Where does reality end and dream begin? This question rules the rare world of films by Shusei Nishi, a young Japanese director of enigmatic vision.
Superficially, his films tell simple stories through seamless interplay of haunting images and minimal dialogue, sound effects, and music. In "Scent of a Rose," a young man's search for his father through photographs becomes a quest for himself. He meets a woman, crosses a bridge, she vanishes. In "Angel with a Trumpet," a young seamstress remembers her father, a saxophone player, and dreams of dancing with a young man to her father's music. In "The Last Sunset," a young widower seeks his wife through her paintings. He crosses a lake to meet her, and sinks under the water. Suicide or reunion? Easy interpretations elude the viewer.

These three brief yet amazingly expansive movies, made in Russia with local actors during the director's long study of contemporary Russian films, reflect the clear influence of Russian masters. Beautifully atmospheric music, composed and performed by Russian musicians, captures subtle shades of romantic emotions.  Yet the spirit of these wonderfully ambiguous films seems closer to Japanese Noh than Russian cinema. Actors pose and move slowly in ritualistic action, wearing mask-like expressions. Characters of indeterminate identity appear and change as easily as gods and spirits. Time flows easily between past, present, and an imagined future. Reality transforms smoothly into dreams.
 A painter turned filmmaker, Mr. Nishi calls himself an "exile" from recent Japanese cinema and culture. Perhaps he is too pessimistic. Recent showings of these three works in Tokyo attracted eager response from small, select audiences of Japanese and international viewers. What shape will his angels assume in the future? For film enthusiasts who seek new inspiration, the continuing works of Shusei Nishi offer tantalizing glimpses of new realities.

— Emyu, an American writer living in Tokyo, plays Japanese fue and Western flute

The Last Sunset, or Gravitation of Death

The film of Shusei Nishi"The Last Sunset"can be defined as a film about awaking of inner vision. To some degree the film is structurally isomorphic to meditating process, where the contact with reality is replaced by the gradual intrusion into the inner space, the surface--replaced by the depth,the invisible obtains contour...A strange story of Sasha, who, being shocked by the sudden death of his wife, "leaves into himself" and attracted, drawn to some untouchable space where the concealed inner life devours the other, physical one...this story can be read as the author's insight into himself, as a contemplation on the work of feelings, giving birth to ideas and images... 

Semantic and energetic center of the film are canvases painted by Liza. And the landscapes are the places of displacement, of passing from the world of characters to the author's discourse. As a rule the entrance to the space of painting is accompanied by active movement of the camera without motivation. The camera prepares our perception, coordinate it to the author's will. 

Final scenes were shot with the mode of long shots-episodes. Unknown landscapes of the countryside, seeming old and untouched. Camera is static. The figure of a man, moving from the depth of the shot, we recognize as Sasha in a sport shirt as he comes near to us.(...) Close up of Sasha--the delight of the cognition. Double identification of the space: we with Sasha do identify the space with that which we've seen on the canvas of Liza. Musical theme of the discourse highlightens our cognition. Sure, we are here--on the point of the space, where the unreal is made from the real and becomes more real than the reality, where the border between life and death disappears. Here Sasha meets with already dead Liza and, the author's discourse, having punctuated the text in the course of its development, "meets" the story, the action of characters, occupying this world, pushing and absorbing it into the universe of the author.

Ludmila Klueva (ph.D, film theory, Moscow )