Meaning of the Interval

1987, 18:40 min, color, sound

Meaning of the Interval is an evocative, subjective essay that explores the inherent contradictions of contemporary Japan, from the rituals of Shinto religion to the nation's fascination with Western pop culture. Constructing a densely layered, nonlinear weave of the mythical and the everyday, Velez probes beneath the surface to unearth ancient, often anarchic tensions. In Velez's rich, transequential collage of imagery, emblems of contemporary Japan — the Bullet train, businessmen and McDonald's — collide with traditional ritual, from Kabuki and Sumo to Shinto. Defying documentary expectations of a narrative voice, Velez redefines the content through a carefully structured progression of visual and aural metaphors. The "interval" of the title relates to the Japanese concept of "ma" — the space between things, a source of energy, tension and balance.

Producers: Ethel Velez, Edin Velez. Editors: Rick Feist, Tom Crawford. With: Mitsuaki Ohwada, Rumiko Honda, Ako. Butoh Performance: Dairakudakan; Maro Akaji, Director. Produced in association with New Television WGBH/WNET.