Running Sushi

We enter a constructed setting, against the background of a video wall that suggests we are in a restaurant. A Japanese restaurant, as can be concluded from the conveyor belt which forms part of the fittings.
Running Sushi consists of a casual conversation between Steffi and Johnny in a sushi restaurant, while the parallel world of thoughts and sensations of both characters takes the stage. Each new dish has major consequences in the grotesque dream reality. (International Film Festival Rotterdam, Cataloge, 2009)

What the aquarium saw. "How should we explain the discrepancy between people´s attitude toward the inner and outer life? Why is it so sharp?" In the contemporary Manga household, traversed by the slowly rolling conveyor belt of the raw fish snacks of everyday life, the descendants of Adam and Eve cower in eponymous costume under dispassionate, detached fish-like eyes. The visual focus is mainly somewhere under the non-existent ceiling of this claustrophobic yet boundless room. It is an angle usually only experienced when close to death. But these animated contemporaries, in not wholly conjugal clinch, presumably aren´t mortal. They are too artificial for that, and too naked. Yet even their nakedness: what is it exactly? Not innocent; not arousing; the suitable flesh-coloured costume for close combat. Domestic life flourishes on a neon green artificial lawn. Even more artificial than the modern Asiatic style household: an impossible exterior creeps into the interior of the self-infatuated contact athletes.

"I think that depth is a myth."
Green Box; that would be the metaphor for the new life on the surface - if it weren´t so flat. How should I paint my kitchen? Every day the Green Box presents you with a different room, deer in back lighting, raw graffiti, and a tiled barrel vault for the home disco. You are on TV yourself or the aquarium watches you. Viewed through an aquarium everything is inside and everybody is at his or her own mercy. With hyperventilation screeching helplessly over the grotesque surface of all intimacies, a homage to Donald and Tweety, these animated heroes are without a private life, and without "private parts". The comic figure in us laughs at the genitals. Anna Freud would never have dreamed of such a thing.
(Katherina Zakravsky)

A film made up of a dialog between two people. Steffi and Johnny are in a running sushi restaurant. The first conversation soon explodes into a performative parallel world of unspoken thoughts and emotions. Every coming sushi evokes a story from the unconscious repertoire of the chaos of human relationships. Wish-machines are cranked up, creating grotesque parallel worlds and extreme situations. Choreography: Chris Haring. Liquid Loft.
(Production note)

More Texts

Short Text

A couple is dining in a sushi restaurant when a fight breaks out between them. This takes place somewhere in a fantasy world, just beyond their desires, where the colours are brighter, the screams are more shrill and the situations more extreme. Every dish that passes on the conveyor belt becomes a pretext for verbal and gestural jousting, choreographed and handed on a plate, as in a video game.
Paris - Hors Pistes catalogue 2009

Jury Statement Diagonale Graz (Award)

We can control our external behavior to the extent that we do not go for each other's jugular in the middle of a conversation. However, Running Sushi demonstrates what is happening at the same time on the inside, as revealed by uncontrollable spasms. The camera records the most minute twitches and acts as the membrane between the internal and the external. To quote Mara Mattuschka: "One has to run in place to avoid being pulled backwards."

jury statement: Award for Innovative Cinema / Diagonale, Festival of Austrian Film 2008

Die Choregografie verschiebt Perspektiven, die filmische Transformation akzentuiert die Verschiebung

Brigitta Burger-Utzer über 3 Filme von Mara Mattuschka mit Chris Haring - Legal Errorist (2005), Running Sushi (2008) & Burning Palace (2009)

Orig. Title
Running Sushi
28 min
Avantgarde/Arts, performance
Orig. Language
English, German
Mara Mattuschka, Chris Haring
Josef Nermuth
Mara Mattuschka
2 D Animation
Mara Mattuschka, Josef Nermuth
Stephanie Cumming, Johnny Schoofs
Supported by
Wien Kultur, Innovative Film Austria
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
DCP 2K flat
Aspect Ratio
Festivals (Selection)
Oberhausen - Int. Kurzfilmtage
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films (Innovative Cinema Award)
Rio de Janeiro - Femina Women Film Festival
Montréal - Festival du Nouveau Cinéma
Madrid - Semana de Cine Experimental
Grand Rapids (USA) - Bearded Child Film Festival
Prizen/Kosovo Dokufest Doc Film Festival
Rotterdam - Int. Filmfestival
Hamburg - Int. Kurzfilm-Festival & No Budget
Stuttgart - Filmwinter, Expanded Media Festival (Audience Award)
San Francisco - Golden Gate Award Int. Film Festival
Paris - Hors Pistes Festival au Centre Pompidou
Wroclaw - WRO-International Media Art Biennale
Seoul - EXis (Experimental Film- & Videofestival)
Split - Festival of New Film and Video
Chennai - Women's Film Festival