A young woman moves to Tokyo. Her quest to find spiritual values hidden in the modern city leads her to take photographs and ends in a pilgrimage to a remote cemetery in the mountains. Shot amongst the neon lights and crowds of Tokyo and the ancient graves and forestry in the Buddhist monastery town of Koyasan, The Mountain of Signs is a film homage to the essay form of zuihitsu in traditional Japanese literature. Its nameless female protagonist illustrates her surroundings through a diaristic monologue that combines poetry and philosophy. Directed by Mika Johnson, The Mountain of Signs assimilates still photography and archival film footage to construct a work of stylized auteur film and autobiography. Its soundtrack features music by Justin Simon and underground folk-improv musician Chie Mukai. Written by
4 August 2003 (Japan)
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Budget: JPY 600,000
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Did You Know?
The movie's title is taken from the 1936 essay of the same name by Antonin Artaud, chronicling his journey to the Tarahumara Sierra in Mexico to undergo a peyote ritual. See more
Every time I catch a glimpse of something beautiful, I think it's getting near time to move on. I was walking in a crowd on the train platform, and I saw a rainbow. I wanted to point, tell people to look-you can only see it for a second behind the towers and holiness and words - but we don't speak the same language and besides, it's never really adequate, is it?