Mountain Plain Mountain
A film by Daniel Jacoby & Yu Araki
21 minutes | 1.78:1 | Colour | Stereo | Spain, Japan, Netherlands
Jan 2018 ⟶ International Film Festival Rotterdam (Ammodo Tiger Short Competition), Rotterdam NL
Mountain Plain Mountain was shot it in Obihiro, Japan, at the last standing venue to host a rare kind of draft horse races known as Ban'ei. Putting together a mix of motionless, contemplative shots and hard-edge, rhythmical, gibberish-rich montages, the slowness of these bizarre races is twisted to its limit. The overall timeline, thus, mimics the track's topography poetically described by a veteran trainer as "a small and a big mountain."
A veteran trainer once put it this way:
There's a small mountain.
And there's big mountain.
What happens between the two will determine who will succeed.
The short experimental film Mountain Plain Mountain was shot it in Obihiro, Japan, at the last standing venue to host a rare kind of draft horse races known as Ban'ei. Putting together a mix of motionless, contemplative shots and hard-edge, rhythmical, gibberish-rich montages, the slowness of these bizarre races is twisted to its limit. The overall timeline, thus, mimics the track's topography poetically described by the veteran trainer.
A few days before the grand opening of the racing season, we embarked in a journey to the now-iconic Tokachi horse racing track with just a limited understanding of the bare bones of this traditional sport. Aware of the brutality exercised onto the robust horses, our focus quickly drifted apart from the widely portrayed subject matter, and towards the intricate web of dependencies that we noticed quietly unfold.
Mountain Plain Mountain depicts this farmers passion by shedding light onto of the surrounding action: betting sales staff, photo-finish technicians, scoreboard operators, elderly gamblers. A predominant state of silent, almost meditative concentration fills the venue while each one performs their routine tasks, but it's these secondary characters that make watching eight horses go in a straight line overcoming two sand ramps an uncannily choreographed play.
To disrupt the viewer's expectation of objectivity in what could be seen as a documentary, we carefully infiltrated performative elements into the narrative. Both a veteran trainer and an active jockey collaborated with us in finding ways to illustrate the technique, language and gymnastics of this sport in raw form: without even a horse.
About the filmmakers
Daniel Jacoby (1985, Lima, Peru) and Yu Araki (1985, Yamagata, Japan) met in 2010 during a residency at Tokyo Wonder Site (Tokyo). Both their works have been highly influenced by their journeys. Fiction is often used by them as a tool to comprehend the puzzling cultural and socio-political differences across destinations. Their first film made as a duo is Mountain Plain Mountain.
Daniel Jacoby (http://danieljacoby.com/)
Graduated in fine arts from the University of Barcelona and furthered his education at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. Recent exhibitions include venues like Fundació Joan Miró (Barcelona), CRAC Alsace (Altkirch), EYE Film Institute (Amsterdam), The Banff Centre (Alberta), Kunsthal Chalottenborg (Copenhagen), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof (Hamburg), 1646 (The Hague), Trafó (Budapest), and the 11th Cuenca Biennial (Ecuador). His films have been programmed in festivals such as 25FPS (Zagreb), BIM (Buenos Aires), MIEFF (Moscow), Go Short (Nijmegen), Sheffield Fringe (UK), Videobrasil (Sao Paulo), Les Rencontres Internationales (Paris), and Cairo Video Festival (Cairo). His film Jagata won the National Competition at Lima Independiente (Peru) in 2016. Daniel has participated in residency programs at Delfina Foundation (London), Jan van Eyck Academie (Maastricht), Casino Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Tokyo Wonder Site (Tokyo), among other places.
Filmography: Jagata (2016), Ahold of Get the Things To (2014), Cuculí (2011), Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot (2010).
Yu Araki (http://yuaraki.com/)
Araki received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Washington University in St. Louis, U.S.A. in 2007, and completed his Master of Film and New Media Studies from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2010. In 2013, he was selected to participate in Tacita Dean Workshop hosted by Fundación Botín in Santander, Spain. His films have been programmed in international festivals such as NIFF (Thailand), BFI London Film Festival (U.K.), The Weight of Mountains (Iceland), International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (Germany), Dong Fang (Italy), and MIFF (Russia). Recent exhibitions and screenings include Okayama Art Summit (Okayama, Japan), Yokoha- ma Museum of Art (Yokohama, Japan), The Benaki Museum (Athens, Greece), JIKKA (Tokyo, Japan), The Container (Tokyo, Japan), Washingtown (Mito, Japan), ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany), CAST (Tasmania, Australia), Tate Modern (London, U.K.), A*DESK (Barcelona, Spain), no.w.here (London, U.K.), Alternative Space LOOP (Seoul, South Korea), and Para/Site Art Space (Hong Kong). Araki has participated in residency programs at SNEHTA (Greece), Nes Artist Residency (Iceland), and Tokyo Wonder Site Aoyama (Japan), among other places. He lives and works in Tokyo, Japan.
Filmography: Bivalvia: Act I (2017), Wrong Revision (2016), Olafur (2014), Road Movie (2014), Angelo Lives (2014), 971 Horses + 4 Zebras (2007).
a film by
Daniel Jacoby & Yu Araki
at Okay Studio
camera, sound, edit
Fundació Joan Miró
with the support of
Arts Council Tokyo
Jan van Eyck Academie
Marjolein van der Loo
Yuki, Keiko & Mine Takano
and our families