Goshogaoka, 1997
16 mm film, color/sound, 63 minutes (clip)

Filmed in a middle school gymnasium in suburban Japan, Goshogaoka takes as its ostensible subject the exercise routines and drills of a girls basketball team. The film consists of six ten-minute takes, shot with a fixed camera at court level, in which the various cadences of chanting voices and bodily movements digress into distinct studies. Taken together they construct a subtle and multi-layered social portrait, a portrait framed within a study of choreographed movements (the routines, etc.) and therefore one in which documentary values soon become inseparable from aesthetic ones. And as there are no games, scrimmages, or barking coaches here, just the girls and their routines, the image is not so much one of contest and gamesmanship but of individuation within a scene of group cooperation. A scene, by the way, where shyness, camera shyness included, goes hand in hand with an odd sense of social comfort.