I saw my first Iimura film in 1964..

Jonas Mekas


I saw my first Iimura film in 1964 at Knokke-Le-Zoute Experimental Film Competition Belgium. I respected Jacques Ledoux, the Competition's organizer, very much. He was one of the heroic figures of the Avantgarde film. But I found all the non-American films at the Competition very boring. You have to remember, that this was the golden period of the American avantgarde film. The films I took to Knokke included Dog Star Man, Scorpio Rising, Chumlum, and Flaming Creatures. And Gregory Markopoulos was there with Twice a Man. Every film at the Competition had to be measured against these giants.

But there were two film-makers who held their own, even in the face of the giants. One was Peter Kubelka, who screened Arnulf Rainer, and the other was Takahiko Iimura, with his film Love. I liked the film very much. I wrote about it in the Village Voice, and later I asked Yoko Ono to bring it to New York, which she did. Shortly after that- in 1966- Takahiko came to New York, himself. So began his New York, or American life. Or, more truly, his life in cinema. Twenty-five intense and productive years. I should add here- as an ironical comment on competitions- that neither Arnulf Rainer nor Love, nor any of the films that I had brought to Knokke, won the top prize...The film that won the top prize was...I have forgotten its name, and I don't think anyone else remembers it.

Although Taka was an active part of the New York avantgarde scene, he always remained an enigmatic, mysterious presence, pursuing his own unique route through the very center of the Avantgarde cinema. While the intensity and the fire of the American avantgarde film movement inspired him and attracted him, his Japanese origins contributed decisively to his uncompromising explorations of cinema's minimalist and conceptualist possibilities. He has explored this direction of cinema in greater depth than anyone else. To review all of Iimura's work, in this first complete in the United States, is an important occasion for all who are concerned with the development and pleasure of cinema as an art.

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("Takahiko Iimura Film & Video", Anthology Film Archives, 1990)