Way back when CFile was just a baby, we ran an article about an ambitious project by filmmaker Marty Gross. Gross has been producing films about Japanese art since 1975. Two years ago Gross was attempting to raise a quarter of a million dollars to restore five hours of unedited film shot by British craftsman Bernard Leach who was documenting the Mingei folk craft art movement in Japan. From the studio:
The Mingei Project is particularly important because the films capture a pivotal time in history following Leach and such seminal Japanese figures as philosopher Soetsu Yanagi and potter Shoji Hamada, as they developed ideas that changed the direction of hand craftsmanship.
Seven films comprise the set. They begin with Trip to Japan, documentary footage Leach shot in 1934. The films span decades to include a 1971 film The Art of the Potter by David Outerbridge and Sidney Reichman. Of particular note is a 1937 film, Mashiko Village Pottery, Japan 1937, which follows pottery manufacturing in the workshop of Totaro Sakuma.
We’re happy to say that the footage has never looked better. In our post two years ago we ran images showing the unedited film running next to the restored image and the contrast couldn’t have been more pronounced. The studio gave us a present recently by releasing a full seventeen minutes of pristine-quality black and white footage from the workshop. A window into history, it’s crisp, gorgeous and the casual documentary nature of many of the shots makes everything feel immediate, as though the intervening 80 years haven’t happened at all. Fantastic stuff. Please enjoy it.
Do you love or loathe this example of (not quite) contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.