Yuki et Nina

Nobuhiro Suwa ; Hippolyte Girardot, France ; Japan, 2009, Ad Vitam


Yuki and Nina have ran away from home. They’re hiding out in Nina’s family’s country house. Their entrance into this space, significantly, a familiar space, is marked with their worries about being found out, caught and sent home. Once the heavy door is opened the camera follows them from afar while they cross the garden, as if it’s a mysterious observer in the distance. Nina has brought Yuki to this familiar space in which she’s lived out part of her life. She tries to share elements of her past here with Yuki by showing her certain objects – her blanket, painted eggs, photographs. Apart from the imposing fireplace, we can’t see anything definite in the house. It remains mysterious to us. While Nina moves around the space telling us all that’s there, the camera stays fixed on Yuki, who stands apart from the place, refusing to invest in somewhere she doesn’t know, somewhere that seems too big for her, and despite the comforts that are signalled to her, it seems somehow uninhabitable. The characters are put into motion as they create their shelter - the director films the girls struggling with putting their tent together bringing them back together with common purpose, to build some shelter. This shelter or hut in the middle of the living room, like an island on the surface of the sea, is at their scale and becomes habitable. Its dimensions are fixed, and the entrance is guarded by stuffed animals, set up like totems. The viewer remains outside of their place of refuge, while, by conjuring images of weird and terrifying creatures, fairies, goblins and the like, the girls try to stave off the imminent threat, and the real one they’ve fled from – Yuki has to go and live with her mother in Japan and as a result the little girls will definitely be separated.