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The Independent Critic

Azuma Makoto
Alison Klayman
29 Mins.

 "Flower Punk" Screens as Finalist at Indy Shorts  

It's the festival life. You know? 

You get busy. You're screening films. You're interviewing. You're writing. You're networking. Basically, when a film fest comes around you multi-task trying to get everything done. 

Then, every so often, there's a film that comes along that makes you stop everything and just watch. 

Flower Punk is that kind of film. 

Dizzyingly beautiful and incredibly engaging, Flower Punk tells the story of Azuma Makoto, a Japanese artist who has sent his floral sculptures into space and sunk them to the bottom of the ocean. Most of the time? His art is a prayer, a way to remember. He thinks about the life and death of flowers and how they can linger long after human life has passed away. This remarkable 29-minute documentary captures Azuma's mesmerizing process of artistry and invites you inside the journey of this one-time punk rocker wannabe who found a different sort of expression for his punk rock spirit and, indeed, it lives and breathes in everything he does. If you're anything like me, you'll find yourself setting everything aside and staring passionately at the screen as his story unfolds. 

The film is directed by Alison Klayman, director of the acclaimed Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry among multiple other docs, and Klayman has created a documentary here that's infectious in spirit and almost impossibly beautiful. You'll be amazed at Azuma's mastery of flowers and you'll definitely never look at flowers the same way again. 

Flower Punk had its world premiere at DOC NYC in 2019 and captured the Audience Award at Aspen Shortsfest. It's screening as a finalist here in Indianapolis this week during the 2020 Indy Shorts International Film Festival, a festival that's gone virtual thanks to the global pandemic that's causing chaos for the fest scene but here in the heartland it's a fantastic opportunity to catch the Academy Award-qualifying Indy Shorts from the comfort of your own home. 

In Japanese with English subtitles, Flower Punk is a feel good doc easily suitable for the entire family and practically the definition of a true Heartland film. Screening in the Finalist 1 block of films, Flower Punk is a short film you don't want to miss. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic