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March 11: singing sea shells with yo la tengo

Sea urchins anyway…this is a restored version of a lovely film by Jean Painlevé called, simply, “Sea Urchins” (Oursins). Score is by Yo La Tengo.

Some students from class have been watching some of the Painlevé films, released a few years back in a lovely Criterion edition. Other films include “Sea Ballerinas” and “The Love Life of the Octopus.”  We’re especially interested in sea creatures, because their poetic filaments swim so elegantly in Tsuchimoto Noriaki’s 1971 film on Minamata. One fisherman describes his intimate life with the octopus, from catching them, to biting into them live, to cooking them up with soy sauce and a bit of sugar. The music is pastoral, the fins gorgeous, but humans here are a part of nature–just as likely to bite you as to stun you with beauty and grace.

A bit blurry but a shot of Tsuchimoto in languid pursuit of the octopus.

Fisherman Onoue-san's exegesis of octopus form in the kitchen.

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