Japan

A quiet, atmospheric portrait of an elderly store owner in the small town of Yagi, Kyoto Prefecture. Yu Araki’s camera carefully observes the curiously named Mr. Yagi’s daily routine and interactions with local customers during the last autumn season for his shop, which is no longer in business. Documenting the passage of time in parallel with processes of depopulation, the title Tempo conjures a double meaning; playing on the Japanese word “tenpo (店舗)” which means “store”.

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Run Time

20 mins

Fuel

(炉)

“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire.” Yu Araki’s enticing short film is a measured double portrait, firstly of a place—the Kushiro Robata restaurant in Hokkaido, northern Japan—as well as a person, the expert griller who slow cooks food at the centre of the restaurant over a bed of glowing orange charcoal.

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Run Time

17 mins

Mari Terashima’s Hatsukoi was made in 1989 while she was studying under Japanese experimental filmmaking giant Toshio Matsumoto at the Kyoto University of Art & Design. The haunting film, made without any dialogue, is full of gothic symbol- ism: candles, tarot cards, thorny red roses and white birds shot in close-up. The faint outline of a narrative follows four characters: a pure young girl in a red dress; the older, mustachioed gentleman in a wheelchair with whom she lives; a boy in a sailor outfit who gazes towards the girl with loving eyes; and an old woman who spreads tarot cards.

Correspondence translation by Kei Masuda

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Run Time

20 mins

the time is now. is one of two films by Holzfeind about the Japanese shamanic improvisation duo IRO. The couple Shizuko and Toshio Orimo have worked together since 1981. Their music, their activism in the peace and anti-nuclear movement, and their free-spirited way of life reflect an animist and pantheistic worldview that rejects commercialism in all its forms.

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Run Time

19 mins

Naomi Kawase is amongst the most renowned of contemporary Japanese filmmakers and Genpin is a sensually shot documentary revelation. In the heart of a dense Okazaki city forest, we follow Dr. Tadashi Yoshimura, midwives and expectant mothers during four seasons at a natural childbirth clinic. Employing centuries old practices that often run askew from contemporary medicine, Kawase’s tender film oscillates between the intimate moments of joy, pain and doubt in honouring this way of life.

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Run Time

92 mins

In Wagu, a fishing village on the Ise Peninsula, Matsumi, Mayumi and Masumi dive everyday not knowing what they’ll find. Underwater, their delicate bodies turn into those of sea hunters. The Ama-San have been diving like this for over 2000 years. There’s both extraordinary strength and glowing merriment at the heart of Ama-San. The film’s gentle style and gorgeous cinematography describes a community of women—the oldest of whom is pushing into her 80s—with much singing, conversation and riotous laughter.

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Run Time

113 mins

An adorable kitten who lives with her grandfather is instructed to behave herself the whole day, and things are going great – until the lights go out in a rainstorm!

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Run Time

7 mins