Toshio Matsumoto (1932-2017)
Sway (1985)
Director: Toshio Matsumoto
Year: 1985
Time: 8 mins
Music: Takashi Inagaki

Perhaps as close to an ethnographic documentary as Matsumoto ever got, Sway seems to explore a persistent, if not entirely explicit, concern in the director's filmography. If Everything Visible, Atman, Ki and even Dongure, among others, were entirely or partly concerned with metaphysics, Sway offers an openly subjective look at a religious cult site in Japan, its ritual routines and the apparent willingness of followers to be taken by a vocabulary of gestures that may or not contradict the implicit néant of those doctrines. In any case, Matsumoto proposes a more generous glance at both the site, which is made to vibrate as if possessed by a radiant energy of some sort, and its practitioners, who are at most points made to carry a visual aura, as if accompanied by something other than themselves, or to become translucent when circumambulating the object of devotion. An usual collaborator of Matsumoto, Inagaki offers a soundtrack reminiscent of Verghya's early works: percussion movements and diluted bells chimes, perhaps alluding to local religious music traditions, are abruptly interjected within atmospheric quasi-drones and rhythmical snaps, providing the visuals with diverse sonic settings that oscillate between introspection and frenzy. -- Sound of Eye