“…all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.” -Leo Tolstoy
Loosely inspired by the classic 1933 essay on Japanese aesthetics by author and novelist Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows is a study in subtlety, painting a modern portrait of humanity through a meditative exploration of the life we project onto the world.
From literature to psychology, shadows have been regarded as many things: our psychic footprint, our dark sides, or even omens of our impending death. One thing is certain: shadows do not lie. They are unique projections of our individuality yet move through the world without a need to be seen.
A sort of throwback to the “city symphony” genre, In Praise of Shadows paints a portrait of contemporary life around the world rather than one particular place and offers a fresh vision of the world we inhabit through a glimpse of how it perhaps sees us. Images of light and shadows reveal our fundamental nature, what lies beneath the personalities and narrative constructs we clothe ourselves and our experience with.
From the moment we emerge from the shadow of our planet at sunup to the moment we return to it at sundown, the film acts as witness to the moments which make up our days and therefore speak to who we truly are. Bodies without identity move through landscapes, our symbols of national identity – flags and monuments – stripped of their identifying features become symbols of our commonalities rather than our differences. Meditative, fun, and cinematic, this unique film weaves its way into hearts and inspires a fresh perspective on how to be in the world.
Directed, shot, edited by Patrick Shen