A SHAPE OF TIME - the composer Jo Kondo

Jo Kondo (*1947) is one of the most interesting composers of contemporary music in Japan. His music is composed intuitively and at the same time it is highly abstract. Without clear directionality and at the same time not without form. For a Japanese audience it sounds “Western” and in the West it is regarded “Japanese”. A music in between categories.

Like Kondo’s music the film is shifting between places and directions: a concert in the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, an elaborate sushi bar in Tokyo, a CD-production in a Cologne radio station, the Zuisenji temple in Kondo’s neighborhood in Kamakura, a town near Tokyo.

Kondo wants his music to appear “normal”, without spectacular surface or narrative elements. A concept of “normality” you may also find in the films of Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu, who – like Kondo – spent most of his life in Kamakura. So it is not by chance that many shots of A SHAPE OF TIME evoke a reference to the aesthetics of Ozu, from the low camera angle up to the subject of daily life. The film accompanies Kondo to rehearsals, concerts and teaching lessons and witnesses his slow composing process – in clear, static shots.