Some of the most exciting films are those that appear the simplest, and so it is with <i>Goshogaoka</i>, a mesmerizing work that refreshes the eye and ear as it liberates the mind. Not far outside Tokyo, there is Goshogaoka, a suburban junior high school with a girl’s basketball team. The team practices. Sharon Lockhart, an American visual artist with an international reputation, attended practice and recorded some of the routines that constitute the workout. <i>Goshogaoka</i> may be read as pure ethnography, scientific, detached, and calibrated, but that would be missing just about everything there is to enjoy in this most pleasurable film.
<i>Goshogaoka</i> deals with truth, beauty (consider the framing and the image), and the idea that a collection of individuals behaving synchronously creates something more, a new entity—the group. The film is enormously subtle and can be appreciated as a meditation on the nature of communal achievement and a covert speculation on cultural differences between Japan and the filmmaker’s native country. Although there is no narrative, there is surprise and expectation: What will the girls do next? Will they chant or will we hear the hypnotic beat of their running shoes on the polished gymnasium floor? The filming of these girls at the melancholic and awkward moment of adolescence asks the audience to entertain thoughts about change, transience, and biography. I got so caught up in thinking about <i>Goshogaoka</i> that I still find myself meditating on it happily.
Sharon Lockhart, Director
Sharon Lockhart was born in 1964 in Norwood, Massachusetts, and received her MFA from the Art Center College of Design in 1993. Her first film, <i>Khalil, Shaun: A Woman under the Influence</i>, was completed in 1994. In 1996 Lockhart was awarded a grant from the Asian Cultural Council to spend three months in Japan. While there, Lockhart made her first feature film, <i>Goshogaoka</i>. Lockhart has exhibited her photographs internationally and teaches at UCLA and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
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