2018 - USA - 80 MINUTES - IN ENGLISH AND JAPANESE
A FILM BY HEATHER LENZ
WRITER - DIRECTOR - PRODUCER - EDITOR: HEATHER LENZ
A rival of Warhol in the ‘60s, Kusama battled sexism and racism in America while her hallucinations of polka dots eventually led her to the Tokyo mental institution
Kusama - Infinity explores artist Yayoi Kusama’s journey from a conservative upbringing in Japan to her brush with fame in America during the 1960s (where she rivaled Andy Warhol for press attention) and concludes with the international fame she has finally achieved within the art world. Now in her 80s, Kusama has spent the last 30 years living in a mental institution in Japan. Yayoi Kusama: Life in Polka Dots is a feature documentary about Yayoi Kusama. The film explores Kusama's fierce determination to become a world-renowned artist.
Kusama was born into a conservative family in rural Japan and she made her way to America on the heels of WWII. There, without connections and speaking only broken English, she devoted herself to her one true love, making art. On her first day in New York, Kusama has stated that she climbed to the top of the Empire State Building, looked down upon the city below, and made a decision to stand out from everyone she saw below and become a star.
"At the height of Yayoi Kusama hysteria in Toronto, documentary explains why her art matters"
- Globe and Mail
"Yayoi Kusama doc corrects the historical record"
- NOW Magazine
"she, in her late-phase super-success, appears to have the last laugh"
- Toronto Star
"No, you aren’t randomly seeing spots. Polka dots just happen to be Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s motif of choice."
- Vancouver Courier
"No doubt: this portrait of Japan’s Yayoi Kusama is exhaustive, in some ways as meticulously detailed as her artworks’ dizzying galaxies of polka dots. Yet the eccentric subject remains an enigma to the end—and whether this bothers you may have a lot to do with how easily you can accept the mysteries of her art."
- Georgia Straight
Interview with KUSAMA-INFINITY filmmaker, Heather Lenz
- Toronto Guardian
"The art world may have been hostile toward Kusama, but she didn’t let that stop her from continuing to make art and find creative ways to exhibit it."
- Seventh Row
"captures the struggle not only of one woman to make art, but also the issues that have beset almost all women working in the arts. Poverty, sexism, exploitation, and the joy of having men take your ideas and present them as their own to universal acclaim."
- The Tyee
"Kusama-Infinity is a perfect movie for the #metoo era: A glimpse into the life of a woman with a vision who had the misfortune of being born at a time when even what was arguably the most progressive culture felt that it was just fine to ignore a woman’s voice."
- Original Cin
"a fascinating film"
- National Post
Despite the grim nature of the artist, Lenz’s documentary is bright and upbeat with music and colours flowing freely through her doc. KUSAMA INFINITY turns out to be as fierce a film as Kusama’s fierce determination to become a world-renowned artist.
- Festival Reviews
Our movie reviewer Karen Gordon looks at "The Seagull," which features a star-studded cast, as well as a documentary about artist Yayoi Kusama called "Kusama-Infinity.
- CBC Film Column
"Documentarian Heather Lenz talks about Kusama – Infinity"
- The Gate
"an intelligible art doc"
- Wylie Writes
"these polka-dotted landscapes are where Kusama feels she lives. Within her art, you can join her for a while, if you’d like. It’s a beautiful world."
Kusama Infinity Interview: Heather Lenz
“Personally it’s important to me to try to help not only women filmmakers but underprivileged filmmakers. My heart is always with the underdog.”
"a loving respectful film about a subject well worth documenting. If you love art, this is a must-see."
- Classical FM
"Born in 1929 Imperial Japan and trained in the contemplative Nihonga style, you might not expect polka-dot queen Yayoi Kusama and haunted Manhattan street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat to share multiple common threads."
- Edmonton Journal
"Lenz‘s Film quenches the thirst of a public ravenous for more about this artistic genius."
- Mr. Will Wong
"The astute and timely documentary explores Kusama’s art, struggles, and life through a passionate understanding of the creative process, the quality of Kusama’s work, and her place in art history. It helps to solidify Kusama’s reputation as a genius contemporary artist and finally gives her the respect and recognition she and her incredible work have long deserved."
- Windsor Square
"an enthralling look at a famed artist that does not drag on nor feel like a slog. Films like these need to be made more often. It's equal parts inspirational and motivating. A must watch for any wannabe artist who is intrigued in international contemporary art."
- David's Weekly Movie Reviews