Friday, October 08, 2010

New film: 'Makes The World Go Round'

What do love and sushi have in common? Well, they both kind of make things go round. They say that love does it for the world and's the reason for those belts drives that spend their working days in perpetual motion, serving up fish and rice for the hungry.

'Makes The World Go Round' is a short film shot in Tokyo during my visit this summer. It is the first in a series of shorts to use field footage filmed with a Flip UltraHD camera and Creative Commons-licensed music. The camera is roughly the size of a mobile phone and takes surprisingly good quality pictures. The action, if you could call it that, focuses on a kaiten zushi restaurant in Kokubunji, that Western Tokyo suburb where I used to live.

For the uninitiated, kaiten zushi (also known as 'conveyor belt sushi' or 'sushi train') is where sushi is placed on a conveyor belt that winds around the restaurant and delivers the food to customers as they sit. They are one of those uniquely Japanese things that a visitor has to experience to get a little further under the Japanese soul. The restaurant in the film became a local favourite, and I often spent a lunchtime there with a bunch of Australians, Americans or Canadians getting their fish fix. Having also seen other footage shot in such restaurants on the Web, I also couldn't resist this time dropping a camera myself onto the belt as it went round and round.

This short is soundtracked by an ensemble called The Years, with a wonderful track titled 'Let's Stay In Love'. It's got a real vintage soul groove to it, coming at you like an early 70's Al Green or The Family Stone as they're just waking up. Issued under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence, the track seemed to perfectly fit the pace of the train. It's also the kind of tune that, like a 7" single you'd have spent a month saving up for as a kid (am I showing my age here?) and end up wearing out from overplay, has been getting some serious action on my hard drives.

I usually try to be quite picky about the standard of images I put out, but there were some features of this clip - the camera itself making a cameo, jerky movement as the belt navigates a turn - that just seemed to fit, so I kept the editing to a minimum. Stay tuned for more in the Japan shorts series from Globalism Films.

Raw like sushi. Yeah.

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