Wabi-Sabi: A Short Film on the Beauty of Traditional Japan

We’ve fea­tured the work of Span­ish film­mak­er Cristóbal Vila before: His short film “Inspi­ra­tions” cel­e­brat­ed the math­e­mat­i­cal art of M.C. Esch­er. “Falling­wa­ter” ani­mat­ed one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s finest cre­ations. And “Nature by Num­bers” showed us geo­met­ri­cal and math­e­mat­i­cal for­mu­las found in nature.

Today, we bring you Vila’s “Wabi-Sabi: A Hand­ful of Mem­o­ries from Tra­di­tion­al Japan.” As he notes on his site, the ani­ma­tion cap­tures the “aspects that inter­est me the most about tra­di­tion­al Japan,” fea­tur­ing “scenes inspired by nature, gar­dens, archi­tec­ture, inte­ri­or scenes, etc.” And it attempts to “cre­ate a calm and bal­anced atmos­phere through the use of light, com­po­si­tion, mate­ri­als, move­ment… and the choice of the motifs them­selves.”

Above, you can watch “Wabi-Sabi,” a Japan­ese term that refers to “the [aes­thet­ic] beau­ty of the imper­ma­nent, the imper­fect, the rus­tic, and the melan­choly,” as explains The School of Life video below. If you’re entranced by Vila’s short film, also watch the “Mak­ing of” video (mid­dle).

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Visu­al Intro­duc­tion to Kintsu­gi, the Japan­ese Art of Repair­ing Bro­ken Pot­tery and Find­ing Beau­ty in Imper­fec­tion

A Med­i­ta­tive Look at a Japan­ese Artisan’s Quest to Save the Bril­liant, For­got­ten Col­ors of Japan’s Past

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling­wa­ter Ani­mat­ed

Inspi­ra­tions: A Short Film Cel­e­brat­ing the Math­e­mat­i­cal Art of M.C. Esch­er

Nature by Num­bers: Short Film Cap­tures the Geo­met­ri­cal & Math­e­mat­i­cal For­mu­las That Reveal Them­selves in Nature

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.