Review: ‘Tarch Trip’

Film Festival, Jan. 29, 1994. Running time: 64 MIN.

Film Festival, Jan. 29, 1994. Running time: 64 MIN.

With: Tadayuki Kataoka, Masashi Mori, Masamitsu Yamatsu, Kazuhiko Uetake, Takashi Furukawa, Tatsuo Soma, Seiji Otsuta.

Japanese experimental filmmaker Hiroyuki Oki’s “Tarch Trip” proposes the Zen answer to Gregg Araki’s “Totally F***ed Up.” Minimalist and without dialogue, pic is an uncompromisingly oblique riff on being young and gay in the shadow of the rising sun. It’s destined for double-edged reception as a bewilderingly unrewarding patience test to some and a highly personal shot of maverick creativity to others. Either way it should be fleet-footed at gay fests and avant-gardist skeds.

Shot in and around Oki’s home among the bland, boxlike architecture of provincial Aichi, pic is basically a meditative series of impressionist snapshots broadly distinguishable into two groups dictated by weather and loosely edited to form a non-linear collage.

Sunny skies dominate images of life and growth (sunflowers being the most recurrent of them), with three young friends asserting their visibility in the seemingly unaccommodating suburbs. Rain-darkened skies glower over the trio cut down to two. Its third member (the HIV-positive Tarch) is seen only in photographs.

Pic’s sexual charge and fragmented depiction of intimacy are steadily cranked up throughout, giving a coherent thread in retrospect that’s not there during viewing time. Oki mixes prolonged static glimpses with freewheeling hand-held camera work to produce a rough, undulating texture echoed on the soundtrack by a cocktail of brooding synth music and random ambient noise.

Tarch Trip

(JAPANESE -- 16mm)


A Jurgen Bruning Filmprods. production. Produced by Jurgen Bruning. Directed, written, edited by Hiroyuki Oki.


Camera (color), Oki. Reviewed at Rotterdam Intl.
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