“This planet can be thought of as a garden.” This was the key concept of Planetary Garden, an exhibition in Paris by the French gardener Gilles Clément that captivated 300,000 visitors. Known for being the creator of the André Citroën Park and Quai Branly Museum Garden, the philosophy that informs his creations are also in the spotlight.

Clément visited Japan for the first time in the winter of 2015 for a lecture series at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature. This series was split into three parts, each of which focused on his three central concepts: The Garden in Movement, The Planetary Garden and The Third Landscape.

For example, looking at The Garden in Movement, grass and trees are caused to move with the transformations of nature, bringing about the formation of a garden through the dynamism of change. Is this nature or culture? Considered as something attached closely to nature, as shaped, as continuously changing, the garden encourages us to reconsider the conventional, bisectional distinction that separates nature and culture.

In his exploration of Japan, Clément is guided by Tomoki Yamauchi, who translated his book The Garden in Movement into Japanese, and Emmanuel Marès, a researcher in history of Japanese gardens. With Tomoki and Emmanuel, Clément visits Japan's gardens and deepens his relations with Japan's gardeners. What will he find in Japanese nature and culture?

The origins of The Garden in Movement can be found in Clément's own garden. Walking through an expansive garden facing the Creuse River, Clément shows us to places he has labeled 'Valley Garden' or 'The Meadow.' While it is of course a richly varied garden, we can also learn much from how he lives his life; solar panels on his self-built house to save energy, meals of vegetables harvested from his own field. Everything has started from this place.

To do as much as possible with, as little as possible against. this is Clément's fundamental approach as a gardener. Respecting this creed, this ethnographic film records Clément in long shot as he tours Japan and shows us his own garden. Recording Clément's behavior in a long take, the cinematographer becomes the camera and through this synchronizes breath with the camera's object, prompting Clément's being to come in possession of a new, shining brilliance.

Translated from Japanese by Daniel Milne

Message from Gilles Clément

I have very powerful memories from the time I was in Japan. I was astonished and filled with wonder. There, I stopped trying to find comparisons with the different ways of gardening I had seen around the world because everything looked new, strange and perfectly accomplished: it was a total immersion in an unknown world.

I hastened to forget what I had learned in the books and through the images of Japan circulating around the world, I was living the moment. I liked this unknown world. I found myself at home. Not as a gardener (I haven’t experienced Japanese gardening) but as a human facing nature.

The presence of a Shinto altar in a Buddhist garden confirmed the idea that the ancestral animism of human societies will not collapse under the weight of reason and this was a relief to me.

The landscape considered through a partition between the near and the far – satoyama, okuyama – giving a place for the human settlement and for the spirits, reminded me of the “fadhy” spaces in Madagasacar or the “leyaks” in Bali. Territories where nature peopled with spirits and free creatures can express themselves. Here it is tanukis, wild boar and deer crossing the road only when the green light turns on in Nara.
The white lawn of the gardens at the end of winter will become green while in Europe it will turn yellow under the sun. It confirmed my idea that the English green grass is not the only model suitable for gardens.

The natural presence of gardeners, their nobility, their know-how, their self-confidence and the accuracy of their role show that gardening in Japan is not the duty of technical experts for simple “cleaning” but a skillful work in which one needs to know about the life of the trees and the grass.

During that time, Kenichi was filming. Discreet and smiling, respecting all my movements. It seemed to me he was trying to pick up everything my astonished eyes were lingering on during our visits in Japan, and what my hand were busy with in my own garden, the Valley.

Of his presence, I keep a warm memory. He did not come to take images and to leave them to the whim of cyberspace, he was here to report: this is the art of narrative poetry while keeping the feet on the ground.

20th May, 2016
Gilles Clément
Translated from French by Emmanuel Marès

Message from Director

I disembarked alone at San Sebastián Station after about three hours of being jolted around on a train heading south from Paris' Austerlitz Station. It was just before noon. The station was small and rural with almost no one in sight. Grey leaden clouds hang low in the sky, chilled by drizzle, carrying the minimum of camera gear in my camera pack, on reflection I must have felt slightly anxious as I nervously looked around. Fortunately, I was soon able to find Clément smiling far away as he stood beside a beaten up old car. It had been around half a year since I met him at a lecture the first time he had visited Japan.

Clément's driving was, unexpectedly a little reckless, but then again I had never imagined him driving before. He drove directly towards home without stalling. While driving, he talked about the things that had caught his interest recently. He had found a lost boot in his garden that was thickly covered with overgrown plants. He told of how he took a liking to the boot and had decorated his entrance with it. Could it be seen as a masterpiece fusing human and plant design?

As I gazed at the view that continuously swerved past on left and right, I lost track of where we were driving. After a while, without even noticing it we had wondered on to a small road surrounded by a forest. The car bumped around on a slightly rough road and we eventually arrived at Clément's home. The Garden in Movement spread out in front of us. Entering my vision first were the tall Katsura tree that soared above the Valley Garden and South American and other plants covered in giant leaves out of proportion with the garden. I wondered where the apple tree Clément had introduced in his lecture in Japan was, which continued to grow after the trunk had fallen over, and searched for the giant hogweed that was a symbol of the start of The Garden in Movement.

With stonewalls covered in vines, the house was picturesque and seemed to merge into the garden, while at the same time resting on an exceptionally impressive expanse of land. On the first floor were the kitchen, dining table and a living room with an old fireplace, the firewood for which was piled up on one wall next to the entrance. Going up to the second floor, I was guided to Clément's office, which had a desk and sofa, and told that I could stay here tonight if I wanted. The Internet router is usually switched off in order not to waste Clément's energy, so I was told that I would need to turn it on if I wanted to use the Internet. Anyhow, I began setting up my camera so I could soon start filming. Outside, wind gently blew raindrops up against the room's large glass window.

Soon after arriving, Clément told me that the playwright Nadège would be visiting to collect material for her own work. By chance, she ended up briefly appearing in the film. Many people visit his garden throughout the year. While waiting for Nadège to arrive, Clément began making us lunch. It was an omelet-like local dish primarily made of ingredients from a vegetable plot in a corner of his garden. I had begun taking footage by this time, and he generously told me that I could film whatever I liked. Impolitely, I even filmed his bedroom, bath and toilet. Suddenly, he asked, would you like me to shown you around the garden? Looking suspiciously at the rain glimmering in the sky, and lacking adequate waterproofing for my equipment, I hurriedly followed behind.
At this time, I wasn't sure how I would compose the film, but I endeavored to shoot the time I spent with Clément as much as possible in long shot. Eventually, I shot about one and a half hours of him showing me carefully around the garden. In contrast to footage taken in Japan, in which he almost looked reserved, Clément walked energetically around the garden and spoke extremely eloquently and confidently. Even though he must have shown a wide variety of visitors around this garden on numerous occasions, I was impressed by how much he seemed to enjoy it. As I probably only pressed the record button about twice during this time, I was able to continue filming as I walked around the garden. This was the footage that made up the central structure of the film.

Though it was the middle of August when I visited Clément's garden, rainy nights were extremely cold, and he began lighting the fireplace. The crackling sound of wood on the fire was relaxing and pleasant. During the night, I made an effort to not turn on the camera. I think that one advantage of working on a project alone is that you can become more intimate with the person you are filming, however, at the same time conversation also becomes more difficult. As a result, you have to carefully follow your judgment about when to turn off the camera. I wanted to put down the camera and have a good talk with him.

Clément asked me what type of footage I want to take. I feel that film seems to flow with its own unique time. This is different to the time we experience in our everyday life. In great cinematography, we feel that we are living in the time flow of that film. This certainly doesn't involve simply abandoning ourselves, but is a time-flow that we choose, feel and breath. Through my films, I want to bring about this living flow of time.

We also talked about when Clément visited Japan, the town that he was born and grew up in, and about the issue of war and energy. Now over 70 years of age, he talked of how he wants to reduce his workload and actively take on projects that he thinks are important. However, he was pleased to be able to spend time to help me. As we talked, it got late, and around when I started thinking of going to bed I was surprised by how late it was. Without having notice it, the rain had stopped.

The next morning, Clément had to go to Geneva, and the plan was for me to go back with him to Paris. As I took footage of different parts of the garden while the sun came up, I heard his voice behind me. I wanted to have more time. I wanted to film more. The Garden in Movement. Always receiving people with a multiplicity of expressions, I promised myself I would return. As I said farewell to the garden I asked Clément to let me visit again. Valuing harmony with animals, plants and insects, his garden was a treasure-trove of ideas for the intellect. However, the feelings brought about by visiting his garden were, how can I put it, more direct, something that pierced the heart. I wish, one day I will be able to record how he lives his life and the ways in which the expressions of his garden change. And then, on another occasion, I would like to show this film to everyone and together breath the time-flow of film.

Kenichi Sawazaki
Artist/Film Director
Translated from Japanese by Daniel Milne


photo Clement Gilles Clément
Born in 1943. Gardener, landscape designer, botanist, writer... Gilles Clément is a man of many faces. Connoisseur of plants, animals and all the living being in general, he discovered a new species of butterfly in Cameroun (Bunaeopsis clementi). His way of thinking the garden, respecting the biodiversity and the mouvement of plants is totally new and unique. His main works: André Citroën Park in Paris (1986-94), Henri Matisse Park in Lille (1990-95), Domaine du Rayol in Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer (1989-1994), The Garden of the Musée du Quai Branly (2005), etc. His main books: Le jardin en mouvement (1991), Le jardin planétaire (1999), Manifeste du tiers-paysage (2004), Thomas et le Voyageur (1997), etc.
photo yamauchi Tomoki Yamauchi
Born in 1978. Lecturer of Kyoto University of Education/ Gardener. He is carrying out research about the way of thinking and practice contemporary European garden and landscape architecture through the analysis of modern garden history. His main works: ‘Deer and Children Garden’ (Otsu, 2013-14) and ‘Eight Herbs Garden’ (Kyoto, 2012-16) and exhibitions: ‘Micro Landscape in Movement’ (Yebisu International Festival for Art and Alternative Visions, 2016). He translated Gilles Clément's Le jardin en mouvement (MISUZU shobo, 2015) into Japanese.
photo emmanuel Emmanuel Marès
Born in 1978. Ph.D in Japanese architecture history. Associate fellow at the Nara National Institute for Cultural Properties, he is currently pursuing his researchs in history of Japanese gardens. Working also for the development of French-Japanese cultural exchanges, he organised Gilles Clément’s visit to Japan in February 2015. As an editor, he published The Great Masters of Gardens of Kyoto, a series of bilingual books (Japanese/English). Co-author of the Vocabulaire de la spatialité japonaise, CNRS éditions (French Architecture Academy Award).


Directed, photographed, edited and produced by :
Kenichi Sawazaki
Production and subtitles : Emmanuel Marès
Colorist : Masae Kariya
Assistant camera : Yushi Yanohara
Sound mixing : Masaya Kuranuki
Adviser : Tomoki Yamauchi
Flyer/Catalog Design : Shinichi Wade
Shinichi Iwamura, Junko Ogawa, Tôru Shinohara, Sylvie Brosseau,
Sachiyo Takeshima, Michio Tase, Masahiro Terada, Nadège Sellier,
Machiko Furukawa, Mitsumori Furukawa, Shin Muramatsu,
Masaki Yoshioka

Maison Franco-Japonaise Bureau français
Institut français du Japon Kansai-Kyoto
Konchi-in Temple
Sonoda's residence "Garden for deers and children"

Co-produced by :
総合地球環境学研究所 みすず書房

About Director

photo sawazaki Kenichi Sawazaki
Born in 1978. He is a Japanese contemporary artist and a film director. Released from the bonds of intellectualized and stereotyped relations, he produces video works and films that beckon a more direct and mutual relationship with the world. For his latest film project, he has been working closely in recent years with researchers and experts to document the diverse natural cultures of countries around the world. His first long-form documentary film The Garden in Movement received its inaugural public screening in Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions 2016. Major exhibitions include: Solo show "Linguistic Montage"(MAXXX - Project Space, Sierre, Switzerland, 2015), "Domestic Archaeology"(GALLERY TERRA TOKYO, Tokyo, 2013) etc.


29-30 September, 2017 Lieux Mouvants
24 June -
7 September, 2017
The Seventh Art Theater
10-30 June, 2017 Rissei Cinema Project
17 September 14:00-, 2016 Institut français du Japon Kansai-Kyoto
*There is a talk event with Sawazaki(Director) and Marès(Production) after the screening
Moderator : Yutaka Mimura(Research Institute for Humanity and Nature)
16 September 18:00-, 2016 Institut français du Japon Kansai-Kyoto
16 February 15:00-, 2016 YEBISU GARDEN CINEMA
(Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions 2016)
15 February 18:30-, 2016 YEBISU GARDEN CINEMA
(Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions 2016)
13 February 11:30-, 2016 YEBISU GARDEN CINEMA
(Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions 2016)
Gilles Cléments' "Garden in Movement" is a breathtaking work: the exact opposite of a willfully designed garden, brought into existence by an unfathomable amount of labor. The result is a beautiful embodiment of nature.
While caring for the many organisms in his garden, the gardener teaches us how nature, humanity, organisms, and culture can be made to coexist. He does this not with difficult words but more quietly, with his demeanor and his way of life.
Sawazaki's cinematography misses none of the beauty of this living garden.
I felt as though the film revealed one way in which our bloated human society can finally come face to face with the natural world.

Reiko Tsubaki
(Associate Curator: Mori Art Museum)

Gilles Cléments' gardening is founded on these simple actions: watch the plants every day, adjust their environment, and help them to grow according to their natural behavior. The result is not simply a garden but a method for coexisting with a world that refuses to conform to our plans. This is the same way in which Sawazaki's camera nestles into Cléments' world: softly sketching out its contours while adhering to Cléments' words to "To do as much as possible with, as little as possible against."

Fumiko Nakamura
(Curator of Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art)

I was reminded of a Chinese fable called "The Wise Man's Garden" that my mother told me as a child. These days I think about how the kudzu vines were not so prevalent when we were more in tune with the natural world. Gilles' way of life is packed full of lessons for our modern society. A film that offers to set us straight by exposing us to its beauty. Should be watched many times over.

Akio Suzuki
(Sound Artist)

Wearing a hat with a tattered brim, Clément works in "The Garden in Movement". I can't help but think that this seemingly unremarkable labor hides a seed that will catalyze and deepen the thoughts of every person who seeks a new (or more fundamental) relationship with nature.

Yasuhiro Odanaka
(Artist / Practitioner of Aikido)

By combining the common, the civic (or the social), and the regional, this piece achieves profound emotional power.

Michio Tase
(Landscape gardener)

This movie is similar to Cléments' garden. Walking slowly through the greenery, the film invites us to stop here and there to gaze around and lovingly caress the plants we find. Rather than cutting through the trees overshadowing a path, we the viewers are asked to make a slight detour to skirt around it. This process lets us examine Cléments' gardening philosophy not only in the garden itself but on the screen through which we see it.

Tetsuya Masaki
(Associate Professor of Kyoto Tachibana University(Architectural design / planning))

The documentary "The Garden in Movement" follows the French gardener Gilles Clément as he undertakes the work of creating a series of extraordinary gardens. This spare film overflowing with greenery captures an old man in the throes of a beautiful and youthful energy.
Cléments' respect for the diversity of the plant world and his kind-hearted devotion to a method of gardening that refuses to oppose the natural tendencies of the plants themselves is sure to buoy the viewer's spirits.

Terumi Takano
(Film producer / Cinema essayist)

Gilles Cléments' gardens are formless arrangements possessing an unconstrained natural motion. Like a long passage in an improvised dance, Gilles entrusts his garden to randomness, freedom, and the life cycle of the organisms themselves. The result is a place where nature feels alive. This is a film with a vision for the future.

Kosei Sakamoto

This is a garden seen as a planet in perpetual motion. Listen carefully to the flow of the water and let your body resonate with the sound. Adjust your breathing to the garden. Walk. A film that makes me consider the wisdom and instincts instilled in our biology since time immemorial.

Itsushi Kawase
(Visual anthropology, African Studies, Assistant Professor of National Museum of Ethnology, Japan)

I consider gardening to be akin to dancing. While plants cannot walk the way we do, I feel every day that they possess a beautiful self reliance and dynamism. Watching this film gave me great joy. I believe this is a piece that teaches us how to coexist without competition or antagonism.

Hiromi Miyakita
(Dancer / Artist)

"The Garden in Movement" that Gilles Clément advocates matchs the ceaseless dynamism of natural ecosystems. He can see the many faces a garden reveals with each shift of the season as only a person who lived his life so close to a garden can do.
The film "The Garden in Movement" brings us into Cléments' perspective while offering us a vicarious experience of natural rhythms and Cléments' improvisational and sensational dialogue with the natural world. The scenes of Clément talking in his own personal garden portray moments of particular bliss that I wish I could keep watching forever.

Hiroko Tasaka
(Curator of Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Curator of Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions)

Cast : Gilles Clément, Emmanuel Marès, Tomoki Yamauchi
Directed, photographed, edited and produced by : Kenichi Sawazaki
Production and subtitles : Emmanuel Marès | Colorist : Masae Kariya | Assistant camera : Yushi Yanohara | Sound mixing : Masaya Kuranuki
Adviser : Tomoki Yamauchi | Flyer/Catalog Design : Shinichi Wade
Co-produced by : Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, MISUZU Shobo, Ltd.

※1 Gilles Clément, Le Jardin en Mouvement, Sens & Tonka, 2007/2008
Translated from french by Emmanuel Marès

2016 / France-Japan / 85 minutes / HD / French, English, Japanese

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