January 7, 2010
Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2010
The idea of making a film comprised of a single continuous shot has been tried numerous times, perhaps most impressively in Aleksandr Sokurov’s highly praised Russian Ark (2003). But director Tetsuaki Matsue and musician Kenta Maeda apparently didn’t get the memo. This concert film/documentary shows Maeda walking from Kichijoji Hachiman Shrine to Inokashira Park on New Year’s Day 2009 to join his band onstage, playing his songs on acoustic guitar the whole way. With a few mildly revealing conversations thrown in, the project is fairly entertaining. What’s really surprising, though, is the enthusiastic reception the film has received, despite being neither original nor moving—it won the Japanese Eyes section of Tokyo International Film Festival, and reviews have been stellar. One senses that an opportunity was missed to do more with the street setting, perhaps by having passers-by contribute to the songs. As it is, Live Tape is little more than a curiosity that can barely sustain its 74 minutes.