. Conversations at the Edge (CATE)

The Animated Films of Naoyuki Tsuji

Posted by | Conversations at the Edge | Posted on | March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 6pm

Naoyuki Tsuji, The Place Where We Were (2008). Image courtesy of the artist.
Naoyuki Tsuji, The Place Where We Were (2008). Image courtesy of the artist.

The work of Japanese animator Naoyuki Tsuji hovers between dream and nightmare, fairy tale and psychodrama. Tsuji animates his films with charcoal—drawing, erasing, and redrawing over a single sheet of paper. The erasures remain as ghostly afterimages, creating the sense that Tsuji’s characters are forever haunted by their pasts. The sky comes alive in Trilogy About Clouds (2005); angelic offspring are blinded by fire and water in A Feather Stare at the Dark (2003); and siblings escape their cannibalistic father, only to wander an anxious wilderness in Children of Shadows (2006). This evening’s screening also features, among others, the North American premiere of Tsuji’s latest film, The Place Where We Were (2008). Presented with the support of the Aichi Arts Center, Japan. TRT: ca 70 min.


Trilogy About Clouds

Japan, 2005, 16mm, 13 min.

All-consuming clouds, terrible visions, dark eyes…Trilogy About Clouds is composed of the three mini-films Breathing Clouds, Looking at a Cloud, and From the Cloud. (Aurora)

A Feather Stare at the Dark

Japan, 2003, 16mm, 17 min.

This is the tale of the pre-world before earth, in chaos with forces of good and evil that have interfered with each other. It is going to build the chance of birth in the new world. The pre-world is carrying out a growth expansion at the same time, decaying. However, the force to the decay sets up birth in the coming world. (NT; translated by Ichirou Sueoka)

Children of the Shadows

Japan, 2006, 16mm, 18 min.

A boy and his sister are nearly eaten by their father and they rush out of the house. They run away in their father’s car and wind up in the wilderness, where they meet a Giant and a Witch. This animation film in black & white charcoal drawings uses the sound of a bass guitar and combines a Japanese Manga feel with a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. (Aurora)

The Place Where We Were

Japan, 2008, 16mm, 5 min.  North American premiere!

A couple is seen at home. In the sky above their house a giant angel flies past. A forest has grown on the angel’s back, where three creatures sit around a table playing cards. They stop in a cave where a creature plays the harp for them and turns the cards into tears. The tears fly through the air and one of them reaches the woman’s womb. She is seen sitting at home, with her cat, contentedly stroking her pregnant belly. (NT)


Naoyuki Tsuji is an artist and animator, working in film, sculpture, and illustration. He graduated from the Tokyo Zokei University in 1995 and currently lives and works in Yokohama, Japan. His films have screened at the Cannes Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the London Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art, NY, and the Yokohama Triennial, among numerous additional festivals and galleries worldwide. He is the recipient of the Yokohama Award for Art and Cultural Encouragement.


Naoyuki Tsuji at Corvi-Mora