In recent years, experimental cinema has witnessed significant changes both in production and in its reception. With the increase of filmmaking schools and workshops, we have seen a wave of talented, creative filmmakers entering the world of experimental films. These filmmakers, coming from diverse backgrounds and experiences, often make their marks on the genre and create films that are experimental to their core, and play with form and content in every imaginable way. Many of these films, in turn, reflect their creator's preoccupation with doing experiments with themes and materials. In almost each of these films one can see how the artist uses the limitations (financial or otherwise) to his or her advantage and creates something truly unique and beautiful by turning the ideas into abstract experiences.
Mokusō II is one of these brilliant experimental films as it works with abstract ideas. Interestingly enough, the way the film treats its subject matter is also through its use of an abstract performance. The film begins with footages of water. We see waves covering the whole frame, and these waves are then intertwined with music, a performance, and it creates a beautiful and complex combination. Music is an essential part of the film, it is innovative and has several points of highs and lows and, as a result, it becomes a type of narrative. The music in the film has the power to change the mood even though we are simply looking at the footage of waves crashing. As we look at the waves, and listen to the music, gradually, we are able to recognize graphic patterns in the waves and can see birds flying. Then, with double exposure, we see someone playing a musical instrument. It can be implied that the filmmaker is playing with the idea that someone is looking at the waves while he or she performs the music.
As we get to the middle of the film, we can guess that the filmmaker is going to continue this minimalistic approach to the two images (waves and the musical instrument playing) until the end. Therefore, we are invited to think about the performance and its various techniques more and more. To think about how the musician is moving the hidden narrative of the film forward and how different techniques are used to create this beautiful music. As mentioned earlier, music becomes as equally important as the footage of the waves.
Mokusō II is an extremely experimental film. By using two sets of images, and without a single dialogue or monologue, the film becomes a auditory-visual experiment that plays with ideas such as loneliness and restlessness through the music and the footage of water. Greg Karnilaw, the director of the films, takes a risk and creates a minimalistic film by combing two images/footages, but by doing so, he also takes a huge step into the world of experimental films and shows us how we can use the simplest things and combine them to get something truly unique and artistic. We can create a narrative without needing to complicate things. Watching Mokusō II is a must. By watching the film, not only can we learn about the craft of experimental filmmaking and working with limited resources, but we can also enjoy the heartwarming footage of waves and the mesmerizing music that accompanies and completes it.