Daïchi Saïto

Originally from Japan, Daïchi Saïto is a filmmaker based in Montreal, where he co-founded the artist film collective Double Negative. His film Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis (2009) was named one of the "150 Essential Works in Canadian Cinema History" by Toronto International Film Festival in 2016. At Rotterdam, Saïto won a Tiger Award for Short Film with Engram of Returning (2015). His book of short prose Moving the Sleeping Images of Things Towards the Light is available from Le laps in Montreal.

Chiasmus (2003 / 16mm / b&w / sound / 1S / 8' 00)

An exploration into perceptual processes in the act of seeing and listening, Chiasmus takes film as a metaphor for the breathing body, through the intercrossing of the medium and the fragmented images of the body in movement. The rhythm and tension created by the interplay between sound and image, and their disjunction and conjunction, aspire to an organic and sensual moment where inside becomes outside, and outside inside.

Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis  (2009 / 35mm / color / sound / 1S / 10' 00)

Sound (violin): Malcolm Goldstein (original structured improvisation score “Hues of the Spectrum”)

Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis is Saïto's second collaboration, after All That Rises, with composer/violinist Malcolm Goldstein, who composed and performed for the film the original structured improvisation score, Hues of the Spectrum. The film explores familiar landscape imagery Saïto and Goldstein share in their neighbourhood at the foot of Mount-Royal Park in Montréal, Canada. Using the images of maple trees in the park as main visual motif, Saïto creates a film in which the formations of the trees and their subtle interrelation with the space around them act as an agent to transform viewer’s sensorial perception of the space portrayed. Entirely hand-processed by the filmmaker, Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis, with the contrapuntal violin by Goldstein, is a poem of vision and sounding that seeks certain perceptual insight and revelation through a syntactical structure based on patterns, variations and repetition.

Never A Foot Too Far, Even  (2012 / 16mm / color / sound / 2S / 14' 00) double-projection

Appropriating a brief fragment from a 35mm print of an old Kung Fu movie, Never a Foot Too Far, Even is an action movie without action. Presented in double-projection, with images from two separate rolls overlaid to form a single image, this film focuses on an obscure figure finding himself in a forest path, caught between perpetual motion and stasis. The painterly images fluctuate in the complex shifting of color and texture, phasing in and out through a polymetric structure. It is a perceptual journey without destination in the turning sphere of ever-changing image and sound, whose beginning and end move in parallel towards a fleeting point of convergence. The palindrome of the title alludes to the structure of the film based on various combinations of a series of recurring sequences that move forward and in reverse simultaneously, defying the usual sense of progression. With original sound composition by Malcolm Goldstein.

Engram of Returning  (2015 / 35mm / color / sound / 1S / 18' 30)

“The figure of the jig-saw / that is of picture, / the representation of a world as ours / in a complex patterning of color in light and shadows, / masses with hints of densities and distances, / cut across by a second, discrete pattern / in which we perceive on qualities of fitting and not fitting / and suggestions of rhyme / in ways of fitting and not fitting – / this jig-saw conformation of patterns / of different orders, / of a pattern of apparent reality / in which the picture we are working to bring out appears / and of a pattern of loss and of finding / that so compels us that we are entirely engrossed in working it out, / this picture that must be put together / takes over mere seeing.”
– from "Kopoltus" Robert Duncan

earthearthearth  (2021 / 35mm / color / sound / 1S / 30' 00)

Dawn breaks where land is flesh
And bones’ echoes;
You’ve lived through extinctions –
Stars, skies, sand and seas;
Future is catching us up at last,
And all the dead are ahead of us.

Production: Daïchi Saïto, Oona Mosna
Cinematography, editing : Daïchi Saïto
Sound improvisation: Jason Sharp

All Artists︎︎︎