Tatsuko is an extraordinary project, and encompasses all of the prodigious skills and talents that a master of their craft can accomplish. Glenn Ibbitson’s 40-min film is a hauntingly beautiful, dramatically gripping yet enigmatic film that draws the viewer into a world dominated by a strange landscape, where the familiar becomes alien and human relationships are intense yet completely distant.
The story is simple: a hooded man arrives at a remote farmhouse. The artist who inhabits the house, goes about her daily self absorbed routine, oblivious to the dark figure watching her. Slowly he begins to inhabit her territory, watching, waiting. Scuttling away when she is near, yet closer to her than her own breath. Is he real, or a shadow? Is he malign, or a guardian angel?
The film’s cinematography is breathtaking, making the most of both the wild Welsh landscape, and the way that ordinary interiors can be imbued with suspense. In their majestic stillness, the shots breathe the artistry of Antonioni, while the enigmatic yet intense story echoes Tarkovsky.
The entire film was made by Ibbitson, with a magnificent soundtrack by Wyn Lewis Jones. The script, scenography, camera, lighting, editing is all done by Ibbitson, and it is a shock to realise that since before the credit you imagine this is film that took a significant budget and a crew. But no. Having previously made a number of short films, Ibbitson’s status as a master painter can be seen and felt in every frame. Tatsuko, as well as being hugely entertaining, is an object lesson in how that most traditional of art forms, painting, can be a discipline and a catalyst to electrify and deliver art cinema of the highest quality.
Tatsuko the film is accompanied by a substantial published book that can be purchased showing all of the drawings that are integral to the film. The drawings themselves, in a concertina book form, are also available for exhibition
Gillian McIver-Tanbouli Director, Studio 75 London
Gillian McIver, Canadian artist and writer born in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and raised in Vancouver is a writer, curator and film-maker.
After studying history and philosophy, she moved to London where, in 1997, she set up an international underground art collective, known as Luna Nera in the abandoned Colosseum theatre in East London. Since that time, she has participated in various projects with Luna Nera, exhibiting in a wide variety of venues in different countries throughout Europe including the UK, Canada, Russia, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and Italy. She continues to co-ordinate Luna Nera which makes temporary site-specific projects in unusual yet significant sites. Her own work consists primarily of video and photographic images which explore history, memory and place. She made “Places” a collection of short films – made about strange sites in Berlin, Moscow, St Petersburg, Paris and Belfast – exploring the lost fragments that trace the past, and reveal the transitory nature of human existence.