Soleil Levant – FULL VIDEO

Our 2013 Japan-fuelled stand out video is finally online

To celebrate 10 years of our 2013 Japanese collaboration DVD SOLEIL LEVANT, we are finally releasing the full video online on our Youtube Channel:

The story of SOLEIL LEVANT starts around 05 when the first Japanese skate videos started sneaking their way into the European underground and our attention (there were such things, it was baby internet still). Soy and I got our hands on some of these early rarities produced by TIGHTBOOTH, FESN or FATBROS and we were stoked to say the least. The skating was innovative, styles were top notch, the filming and editing were off the chain, and there was a cultural twist that brought it all together and made it fascinating. We made our way to Japan quickly after in 2006 and instantly fell in love with the place, the vibe, the scene and its people.

There is a lot to learn from sharing a passion with fellow humanoïds from a completely different background all the way around the world; they will be as dedicated as you if not a lot more (Japan is a culture that breads passion and focus) but their understanding of the entire premise, limits and goal of skateboarding is fascinately foreign and magnificent to our Western eyes. Also being a street skateboarder in Japan, and generally being part of any non-conformist, slightly-illegal movement, takes balls of steel to pull off. After some time spent there, you start realizing that your tatooed, mohawk-wearing, street beer drinking, weed-smoking local amigo is the equivalent to a drug kingpin in the eyes of the local authorities, and the general public. Yet their love is so strong that they embrace social hassles that are unknown to most of us Westerners since the mid 90’s. Maybe that’s part of the magic, going to Japan takes us back into a different time of our artful activity, when we were still outcasts with no hope for a Moutain Bull Energy contract…

Japan has remained a big inspiration for Magenta ever since. We went back as often as we could, creating ever deeper connections. In 2007 Leo, Maz and Yoan made their first trip to Japan and ended up by chance at the OVERGROUND BROADCASTING Tokyo Premiere. Before long, we had made friends with a bunch of crews, including the TIGHTBOOTH PRODUCTION, FATBROS and FAR EAST SKATE NETWORK dudes whose videos had inspired us in the first place, as well as Uru and co. at KUKUNOCHI who eventually became our Japanese distributor.

            When Magenta started in 2009, one of of our first idea was to do a common project with our Japanese homies. A few years into the creatin of the brand, we finally could make it happen and dedicated a good part of our 2012 & 2013 to film SOLEIL LEVANT. We went to Japan several times for the filming, and we invited Japanese Genius TAKAHIRO MORITA to join us in France for the video, as well as our rider KOICHIRO UEHARA and more Japanese homies.

Behind the lens were legendary lensmen Yoan Taillandier, Takahiro Morita & Shigeta, Shinpei Ueno & the TBPR boys, Jean Feil & more. We benefited from custom soundtracks made by Japanese band OPSB and our fellow Frenchman Matias Elichabehere. Our goal was to make a video in homage to the Japanese way, but also to represent our culture (French/Western) and highlight the connection we had created between Japan and France. In the end, A LOT happened that was unplanned, mostly through the magic of the great mind of Morita, mixed with a bit of magic. We split the editing between us over at Magenta, Tightbooth and FESN to allow for as much unfiltered juice to come out as possible. As you will see, the video is a trip. Enjoy! Aligatooooo. Merci.

Text: Vivien Feil

Photos: Jean Feil

P.S: A little extra for my geeks out there! Historically French and Japanese people have a long history of cultural ties, which includes one of my favorite war stories: in the 1860s a bunch of elite French soldiers were tasked with training the samuraïs (traditional rulers of Japan for centuries) for modern warfare against the ambitious Japanese Emperor who wanted to seize power supported by the British. When the French government decided there was no hope left for the samuraïs, and they were going to get crushed (they eventually were) they decided to pull their men out. Yet a few decided to stay against their superiors’ orders, the most notorious or senior being Jules Brunet and a bunch of others, they handed their resignation from the French Army and fought on with the samuraï en route to a sure defeat. They had been impressed by the code of honor and righteousness of the Japanese Warlords and felt they couldn’t abandon their brother in arms in the face of death. Look up Mr Brunet and his men, legends! They even made a movie inspired by it, though twisting the original story in many ways, not the smallest by turning Jules into an American captive played by Tom Cruise, Hollywood Baby!