Logged on to Kanopy to watch Effacement, a semi-experimental documentary that explores the process of creating a Japanese Noh mask. While many films of this kind tend to be overly didactic, director Solrun Hoaas livens things up by adopting an inverted narrative structure, beginning with the artisan delicately applying paint to the nearly-finished product and ending with her chiseling away at the raw material. Eschewing expository narration/title cards and featuring a soundtrack composed predominantly of ambient sounds (tapping, scraping, sanding, hammering), it is, first and foremost, a sensual experience—indeed, the fact that it doesn’t explain every little detail only increases its educational value, in my opinion.
And best of all, the fourteen-minute running time makes it effortlessly re-watchable.
[Originally written June 8, 2018.]