JAPAN / 2001 / Japanese / Color / Video / 131 min
Director, Script: Mori Tatsuya
Photography, Editing: Mori Tatsuya, Yasuoka Takaharu
Producer: Yasuoka Takaharu
Production: A Production Committee < Yasuoka Film
World Sales: Yasuoka Film
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Phone: 81-3-5367-6408 Fax: 81-3-5367-6407
October, 1999. Mori Tatsuya picks up a camera for the first time in almost two years since completing A, his investigation into the Aum phenomenon. In that time, the religious cult Aum (now known as Aleph) had established centers in many parts of Japan, and continued its activities. The world described here—one of believers, their new neighbors, the police, right wing nationalists, the mass media and the strangely shared space that they build among themselves—bears little resemblance to that recognized by most Japanese. As television continues to ram home the equation “Aum = the enemy of the people,” this film presents yet another Japan.
[Directors Statement] At first, I thought that I would never again make a film about Aum, and answered accordingly whenever asked about my intentions. I did this because my move to show a cross-section of “Japanese society” through a focus on Aum had ended with my previous film, A. There was nothing wanting or undigested, and I had nothing to add.
Since then, however, Japanese society has changed so dramatically one would think all brakes were off. Triggered by economic troubles and an upswing in crime, public opinion has taken a hardline stance favoring severe punishment. As the media and police authority take advantage of this, a number of laws with a distinctly nationalist flavor have been passed, and we have even seen the appearance of forces that assert the correctness of Japan’s position in the Pacific War. All of this has occurred since the Sarin Gas incident.
I’m not a social filmmaker. I am, however, afraid of these and other social trends that freeze the ability of all Japanese to imagine the Other and promote only the expression of hatred. We mustn’t let the Aum phenomenon to weather like this, nor must we allow Japan to end up this way. I started to film A2 unwillingly. However, now that I have completed the final cut I am thinking about it deeply, so deeply that it pains me. “The world is richer, and people kinder than you think.”—This is all I want to convey to the people who will see this film. It’s all I want them to know.
Born in 1956 in Niigata, Japan. Graduated from Rikkyo University. Began acting in films by Kurosawa Kiyoshi and Ishii Sogo while in university. Began making documentaries after joining a television production company. His TV documentaries include Occupation: ESP and Broadcast-Prohibited Songs, the latter also screened theatrically. Made A in1998; the Yamagata version screened at YIDFF ’97, and the International Edition in the World Special section at YIDFF ’99. Publications include A Diary of Shooting “A” (Gendai Shokan), Broadcast-Prohibited Songs (Kaiho Shuppan) and SPOON (Asuka Shinsha).
• International Competition | Angelos’ Film | A2 | Buenaventura Durruti, Anarchist | Crazy | Days in Those Mountains | La Devinière | Gaea Girls | Grandma’s Hairpin | In Vanda’s Room | The Land of the Wandering Souls | Mysterious Object at Noon | Paragraph 175 | Private Chronicles. Monologue | 6 Easy Pieces | Southern Comfort • Jurors | Hartmut Bitomsky | Bernard Eisenschitz | Ann Hui | Kuroki Kazuo | Ivars Seleckis