Sarah Morris’ sixteenth film continues her investigation into urban psychological landscapes, this time moving her focus to Osaka, a vast and historic metropolis. Tracing the culture and the undercurrents of the city, Morris captures individuals and sites as varied as the famous Sakura paint and pastel factory, UNESCO recognized Bunraku theater, late pre-eminent Japanese architect Kiro Kurokawa’s police prefect, Renzo Piano’s Kansai International Airport, Kendo, the Yamazaki Suntory Distillery, and the laboratory Nobel Prize-winning molecular scientist Shinya Yamanaka.
Commissioned by the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka on the occasion of the addition of a new museum building to Osaka’s cultural landscape, the film is an independent artist’s film. Shot at numerous locations throughout the city the film is almost a catalogue of multiple possibilities and narratives within a single space. The film has no dialogue and has an original soundtrack. The fragmented structure underscores the dynamic of the contemporary moment life and creates a space in which the viewer takes an extremely active role.
“Sakura” is a tale of Japan’s original mercantile and cultural capital. Looking at Osaka as a twin city or ghost capital, the film takes the city’s continual reinvention as a mirror unto Japan’s economic and cultural lineage. Morris slices through the urban space to reveal an archeological cross section where the ghosts of the past and concepts for the future are put forth, captured, and endlessly reflected back. The film, a complex psychological panorama of the politics of situations, exploits the boundaries of documentary and fiction, and collides the city’s unique duration of time.