The screaming philosopher

It was in the middle of the summer 2008, I received a long email from a Japanese ‘fan’. Looked like it was just some lovely words, advising me to film a Japanese musician, a certain rare folk artist named Tomokawa something. It took me 4 more months to re-read the email until the end – and discover that this fan was actually inviting me to Japan to make a movie about his idol.

We went there for 2 weeks, in March 2009, and this filming experience was by far the most important of my life. Kazuki Tomokawa, that’s his name, 59 years old man, at first the exact idea you could get of a cinema character straight from a yakuza movie, a guitar in his hand and a scream in his mouth. But then the camera allows you to explore more and makes you discover the multiple layers of his existence and belief in life, his past as an actor for Oshima or Miike, his passion for bike race gambling, his unstoppable addiction to alcohol, his amazing skills as a painter, and his troubled past with his son, you soon got the feeling there’s only one Kazuki Tomokawa. As there was only one Rimbaud.

The other day, while working on the edit of ‘La Faute des Fleurs’, a friend of mine was helping to translate certain sequences. At some point, she would suddenly burst into tears. At the question what happened, she turned to me and said, “it’s the way he speaks… he is like a poem”.

Tomokawa, the screaming philosopher.

October 2009,  Vincent Moon

Musicians of Our Times, Episode 2
La Faute des Fleurs — a portrait of Kazuki Tomokawa

A film by Vincent Moon

With Kazuki Tomokawa

Eito Nozoki (Son), Naoki Ohzeki (Manager), Hideo Ikeezumi (Producer, PSF Records),
Masato Kato (Writer), Yasuki Fukushima (Poet),
Toshiaki Ishizuka (Musician, Zuno-keisatsu), Masato Nagahata (Musician, Pascals)

Story by Teresa Eggers and Vincent Moon
Sounds by Gaspar Claus and Teresa Eggers
Mix by Gaspar Claus
Edited by Vincent Moon and Lucas Archambault
Produced by Temporary Areas and Modest Launch

Japanese with English subtitle / 2009 / Japan / Color / 70min.

Sound and Vision Award 2009 Winner at Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (CPH: DOX 2009)

All photos by vincent moon for "La Faute des Fleurs"

* Taking it’s name from the Tomokawa album ‘Fault of Flowers‘ (1993 / PSF RECORD) , the album ‘La Faute des Fleurs’ is his first solo record after a seven year hiatus. The record features the song ‘My Flower’, inspired by Norio Nagayama‘s poem ‘Muchi no namida’ (Tears of ignorance).

Kazuki Tomokawavincent moontenmporary areasmodest launch