Kihachiro Kawamoto’s ‘The Trip’ – Review

Kihachiro Kawamoto, THE TRIP - MUBI

The places we will go!

The Trip (Tabi) (1973) – is a perfect title for this short. Kihachiro Kawamoto uses surreal imagery to illustrate a new meaning for traveling the world. Instead of using his signature Bunraku puppets, he uses a combination of black and white photography and beautiful watercolor backgrounds, complete with cut out figures or kiri-gami. The most beautiful cut out is of a nameless young woman who originated in the train photograph, as she is visually stunning and the vivid colors of her clothing pop against the surroundings.

The young woman is seen staring at a travel ad for an unknown European country. Her mind begins to wander as she boards her plane to head to the other side of the world. What the viewer beholds are presumably a trip not only through Europe, but through alternative dimensions via the subconscious mind of the protagonist. As she travels, she matures through various strange and sometimes disturbing encounters with other humans and entities. Great symbolism is used to convey a message of the world being more than what it seems to our limited perception.

Throughout the short, a living statue can be seen in multiple forms trying to catch the attention of the young woman. She is seen attempting to bond with the statue/spirit; however she is kept from pursuing him by various entities. In the end, after all of her travels, she obtains a state of peace and elevated consciousness. Her journey to foreign lands took her within herself, and allowed her to raise to a new level in her evolution. Note worthy is her guide (or her other half) following her for the duration of the trip. It can be gathered that while naive, the nameless woman sought him out repeatedly–but he would always retreat.

Overall, viewing Kawamoto’s Tabi is a lot like visiting a museum; many artworks by the artists Salvador Dali, MC Esher, and René Magritte have been used in the animation.

Source: Mubi

The Trip
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4 stars
  • Excellent

  • The Trip
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 2012-09-03

Review Summary:

Surreal cutout (kiri-gami) animation following a young girl’s spiritual journey to an anonymous Western city, a bizarre dreamscape cluttered with elements from works by Salvador Dali, René Magritte, Giorgio de Chirico and MC Escher. The citations of Chinese poet Su Tong-Po (1037-1101) hint at a deeper Buddhist allegory, in a film, which also references the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, offered as Kawamoto’s ode to his mentor, Trnka, who died in 1969. - MUBI

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