"Beyond Noh" Animated Short

"Beyond Noh"
Directed by Patrick Smith
Produced by Kaori Ishida

Running Time 4:00

"Beyond Noh" rhythmically animates 3,475 individual masks from all over the world, beginning with the distinctive masks of the Japanese Noh theater and continuing on a cultural journey through ritual, performance, utility, and politics.

Premiering 2020. For a screener or for more information contact info@blendfilms.com

Director Note:
Every culture on this planet has produced, in some way or another, a Mask, a covering, some method of concealing the face. Masks have many uses, many contexts, and multiple meanings. Whether it’s for ritual or performance (in it’s many iterations), the mask will always conceal fully or partially what is underneath for a multitude of purposes. To my knowledge, no culture in the history of the world has refused to take part.
It could be argued that no culture has gone as far as Japan’s theater masks of “Noh” in terms of visual appeal, utility, and craftsmanship. My film is aptly named “Beyond Noh”, and just as the title suggests, it builds an experimental visual narrative that begins with the masks of Noh, and continues beyond, around the world, a survey of every single type of mask this planet’s cultures have ever produced. This flickering survey at 24 frames per second displays the ancient stone masks from Israel all the way to the contemporary plastic masks of “Hello Kitty." The masks are acoustically guided through the piece by the radiant and timed percussion. For some time it has been my belief that in film, visuals exist to interpret audio. This philosophy has shaped how I approach telling a story, or expressing any type of visual narrative. Each masks occupies one precious frame of film. The thousands of photographs are registered to one another according to size, shape, and color. This tedious "replacement" technique is one that I’ve been developing and honing over the past few years, encompassing my last three short films.