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still from Ascent (Fiona Tan, NL/JP 2016)


Fiona Tan / NL, JP, 2016 / 80 min.

Ascent is a film like no other. A pure, aesthetic, mesmerizing experience based on sacred mount Fuji; about humankind, its aspriations, the Buddhist way of living and Japanese myths and fairytales.

poster Ascent (Fiona Tan, NL/JP 2016)

Ascent by Fiona Tan is a reflection on Japan's Mount Fuji, endlessly captured on film and photographs. Helen de Witt, London Film Festival programmer, wrote about the film:

‘The beautiful and mysterious Mount Fuji is the site for an adventure of the imagination for a Western female writer and her soulful male Japanese correspondent. We go on a metaphorical journey with them up the mountain, crossing geographical, temporal and cultural divides. Employing a collection of dazzlingly varied still images spanning the history of photography, the mountain becomes a breathtaking cultural monolith, inspiring the writer to uncover different paths and to muse on the significance of its dominant presence in Japanese history, religion and philosophy. By combining fiction and documentary, the film is able to explore the intersections between Japanese and Western art and popular culture, from Van Gogh’s passion to the perspectival simplicity of Japanese designs to Hokusai’s woodblock print of The Wave. Evoking both the insight and lyricism of Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil and the emotional complexity of Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour, Fiona Tan’s wonderful film captures the paradox of existing in time and space without movement. Profound stillness.’

Prior to this screening, at 19:15, Fiona Tan will discuss her work with Marcella Lista, Chief Curator of New Media at Centre Pompidou. Tickets for this programme are available separately.

This is part of



Fiona Tan

Production year




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80 min.


English, Japanese





Part of

Fiona Tan

Fiona Tan is known for her video and film installations in which she explores memory, history, globalisation and the role of images.

Learn more
Fiona Tan, Gray Glass (2020), still, 3 channel 4K video installation, black & white, 3 x mono, courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London
still from Ascent (Fiona Tan, NL/JP 2016)
still from Ascent (Fiona Tan, NL/JP 2016)
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