KENJI YOSHIDA: ARTIST OF THE SOUL
Director: Ishmael Annobil
Running time: 105 Minutes
Sound Version 1: 5.1 Theatrical
Sound Version 2: Stereo
Kenji Yoshida – Artist of the Soul is an in-depth profile of the 83 year-old former Kamikaze pilot and Avant Garde artist, Kenji Yoshida. Directed by Ishmael Annobil, this lyrical film is the first ever feature about the artist. Shot with rudimentary equipment, and without external sound recorders, Kenji Yoshida-Artist of the Soul exemplifies instinctual filmmaking, and its director’s journalistic pragmatism. Classically, this historical film about one of the greatest artists of the 20th and 21st Centuries
was shot on a sub-micro budget.
The film presents a rare interview with Yoshida, intercut with eloquent analyses and anecdotes by his agent, curators and friends. It also explores the fact that, despite his historical status as the only living artist to be given a solo exhibition at the British Museum, Yoshida remains relatively unknown in Japan.
Kenji Yoshida – Artist of the Soul was screened at UNESCO in October 2008 as part of Yoshida’s testimonial exhibition Vie Et Paix. This gave Yoshida the opportunity to see his film. Sadly, he passed away soon afterwards, inspiring Ishmael Annobil and Jose Ferez Kuri to include his funeral/interment, at Montparnasse Cemetery, in the film. Almost a year to the day, Jose Ferez Kuri, too, passed away, in Yoshida’s atelier, while cataloguing the master’s works,
and curating Yoshida’s first posthumous exhibition for the October Gallery.
Damian Kwasnik stands out as the editor who actually finished the film, in November 2014, seven years after the first shot. Part of Kwasnik’s tasks included a forensic synching of film’s audio, which had been previously been attributed solely to poor sound recording. Extra editing by Intern/Assistant Editor Sylvia Biagioni and student filmmaker Hannah Newman-Smart contributed invaluably to the finishing process.
Ishmael received generous support from various Japanese organisations and individuals, including Yuko Mukahira of Osaka based Documentary Workshop, who provided him with pre- and post WWII footage of Japan; the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, who provided him with drawings by Hiroshima survivors; and the staff and management of the October Gallery, London. Legendary Japanese Taiko drummer and composer Joji Hirota scored the entire film.
Writer/Producer/Director: Ishmael Annobil | Cinematography: Ishmael Annobil, Abiy Mamo, Anita Keymatlian and Dave Butler | Editing: Damian Kwasnik Dave Butler, Merethe Rosvold, and Francesco Carradonna | Extra Editing: Silvia Biagioni and Hannah Newman-Smart | Associate Producers: Jose Ferez Kuri and Conrad Peters | Sound Post: Vanessa Tate and Dominique Devoucoux of Tate Post | Extra Sound Post: Tony Sheng and Ricardo Pujol | Music: Joji Hirota.