In Search of Ravens

Mark Gill

3 min read

Mark Gill (Director, Chase Films), sat down with the new podcast from SoPress, ‘SOSOSOSOSO’, to talk about Tokyo and in particular Shinjuku.

The French podcast is an exploration into Japanese culture with interviews with different artists, filmmakers and writers about their experiences with different areas of Tokyo. Mark talked to them about his love of Japanese culture, how it influenced him when growing up, his recent visits to Tokyo, and his upcoming project on Photographer Masahisa Fukase.

It’s not like being in a European city where you can understand enough of the language to get by as there’s enough words that are recognisable. Finding yourself in Japan, and in Shinjuku, and Golden Gai, especially those close narrow streets, the relentless light, the relentless noise. But you can’t understand any of it, and you can’t read any of it. You do get that sense of being completely alone in a very positive way. I think that’s the best way I could describe it I just felt cut adrift from everything that I knew, in terms of language and culture, yet, having experienced it second-hand for most of my adult life, it felt incredibly familiar as well. So, there’s that weird dichotomy of feeling alien and at home.

Shinjuku © Mark Gill

Mark stood on the steps of Nami Bar in Golden Gai in Shinjuku, Fukase’s favourite drinking spot

The second trip to Tokyo and in particular Shinjuku and Golden Gai was a research trip for the film we hope to make next called RAVENS which is the life story of Masahisa Fukase, whose story I discovered maybe six years ago now, in a newspaper article in the UK. Once I saw the images of Tokyo, particularly Ravens images, I felt almost compelled to tell that story. So, you go to the places that Fukase inhabited and walk those streets, that sort of melancholy feel to his work, there’s an undercurrent to that in Tokyo. I have found it in a lot of big cities but I seem to find it to be most at home, in and around Shinjuku area. If you’re up on your French, you can listen to the whole SOSOSOSOSO Podcast right now via Spotify or if you’re a little rusty, we have the full clip of Mark’s interview below.

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