Hot Docs 2017: Our Review of ‘A Room of Her Own: Rei Naito and Light’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2017, Movies by - April 26, 2017
Hot Docs 2017: Our Review of ‘A Room of Her Own: Rei Naito and Light’

A Room of Her Own: Rei Naito and Light shows droplets of water flow from one space to another. It’s a description that scares me yet it’s something I know. Pardon the reductive comparison but imagine the b-shots in Ghibli films, but stretched out a little longer. The shots here are textural.  I say this as a coded way of telling my readers to get caffeine before watching this movie. But as I’ve learned in my film classes, some people like that. Even I like that. Thankfully the camera pulls out of those shots into something else before it’s too late.

At its best, Yuko Nakamura’s project is something that makes me envious that she did it. A project reminding me of bell hooks’ writing, writing that I’ve tried and failed to imitate. This project is art about art. A conversation between artist and filmmaker. Not a regurgitation of dry, biographical facts. The droplets are are of artist Rei Naito’s Matrix. It’s an artificial cave like environment. People visit it and contemplate not just the work but their own minds. And because of this, Nakamura incorporates personal struggles that drew her to Naito’s work in the first place.

Nakamura also presents a conflict between artist and filmmaker. She uses film making – a method she admits is intrusive. The former pursues a subject whose open nature is a gamble. In this case, Naito is intellectually rich. Nakamura relays her quotes through title cards. She’s still a recluse, however. She eventually asks Nakamura to stop filming. She never appears in front of the camera again. I can anticipate the audience’s ambivalent reaction on how Nakamura continues the project as Naito distances herself from her. She hires a model/actress to experience Naito’s art with her. This way great art reaches more people.

  • Release Date: 5/1/2017
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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