Thursday, April 16, 2020

BEYOND NOH (2020) Tribeca 2020

3,475, masks are animated to create a record of masks around the world and across time. It begins with Noh masks from Japan but then spins off into Pokemon masks, Batman masks, surgical masks, plague masks, gas masks, bondage masks and tribal masks...

This is an absolute magnificent  piece of cinema both as animation and of documentary. Through the the rapid cutting, almost too rapid (I want to go through frame by frame), we get a sense of the role of masks in human existence. Clearly they mean something much more than just a way of dressing up.

In a weird way the masks become a kind of religious experience where we watch as all of humanity tries to touch god... or something. If it's not spiritual it is definitely visceral as the oh this is nice, becomes funny with Pokemon and then slips into something greater as the weight of the varieties washes over us.

This is a magnificent film best in big and in the dark. It also should play in museums where it four minute run time gets the point of the importance of masks across much faster than ten halls of artifacts in the Native Peoples wing.

Highly recommended.

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