by Aya Kawazoe

Next Step 2021

Japan / France

Feature Film

Aya adapts Hyakken Uchida’s eponymous short story in which characters wonder whether they are alive or dead, as the reality of their existence is swept from under their feet.

Aya’s films are an experiment, an intricate blend of method and intuition. Her narrative structure makes use of the polyphonic themes and variations of the art of the fugue. The way images, patterns and stories resonate with one another, the way they permeate and feed one another, not unlike various living organisms, capture an —often elusive— emotional state. This blurry sensation as you wake up, before rationality kicks in, this transient state of consciousness where you are unsure of the limits of your body and your world. When, like a ghost, you don’t know if you actually exist. Howling aims to update traditional Japanese ghost stories, trading terror for a more existential, melancholic dimension, steeped in intangible anguish.