16th Entertainment Division Excellence Award
THE WARPED FOREST
MIKI Shunichiro [Japan]
The ar tist realized this completely self-funded film through an investment of money and experience that he accumulated over ten years as a commercial director. People of various sizes live sideby-side in a quiet village. Among the characters are a girl who, armed with a gun, searches for a phantasmic animal known as the “pinkypanky,” a woman who works at a miniature store, a hairy creature that sucks men’s nipples, a wood nymph whose transparent white skin bears strange kinds of fruit, and a huge inverted pyramid that floats in midair above the village. In this beautifully odd science-fiction comedy with a new, visionary sensibility, countless ordinary concerns such as debt, unrequited love, infidelity, and the pursuit of happiness arise in a world in which there is no distinction between normal and abnormal. Rather than aspir ing to tell a story, The Warped Forest is a movie that provides the viewer wi th a sensory experience. If David CRONENBERG had directed Teletubbies, it might have turned out like this.
Reason for Award
This video work is difficult to explain. It involves a strange warp that occurs in a mysterious forest, a wondrous plant called Poko, an enchanting plant girl, a youth who is the unfortunate victim of “dream meddling,” an older man, and three sisters with a quirky sort of beauty. Even when you try to follow the story, it slips away from you and fails to resolve in a comprehensible fashion. Small people coexist with regular-sized ones, and there are erotic or fetishistic objects and other peculiar visual devices, but ultimately you are left without any clues to solve the puzzle.
In the service of its adamant refusal to allow easy interpretation, the work employs meticulous and superb staging, and the use of advanced visual techniques. Although the keys to entertainment may be familiarity and content that is easily conveyed and understood, we cannot overlook the fact that are also many works of “crypto-entertainment” that are antithetical to the norm. As if to prove this, THE WARPED FOREST, which gets perfect marks for bad taste, has been praised for standing out from the rest. The work made a particularly good showing in a year that was marked by a dearth of provocative visual material.