Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis (2009)
Time-lapse impressions of trees, or the light through and around trees, gives way to flicker impressions, colored like abstract stained glass, gives way to fast smeary movement, the trees now only occasionally recognizable as trees. Set to a manic violin drone by Malcolm Goldstein.
Engram of Returning (2016)
More black than image in this one, the picture coming through in snatches… maybe a snowy hillside, or a body of water, the camera shutter pulsing with the tide. Halfway through we get superimposed landscapes, then things break down very colorfully towards the end. I like that his movies shift from one kind of indescribable thing at their beginnings into completely different kinds of things. Buzzing insect of a soundtrack by Jason Sharp (that was a saxophone??).
The description calls it a “metaphysical travelogue,” fair enough. Saito cofounded a Canadian film collective with a pretty good manifesto. I also re-read Jordan Cronk’s Cinema Scope piece, which is too complex to excerpt here.