About the Program
In recent years, feature films and documentaries about zainichi have become extremely popular. Looking back on the history of film, however, one is struck by the number of earlier films dealing with zainichi, and by how active so many zainichi filmmakers have been. Focusing on the connections between film and zainichi, this retrospective brings together not only films from Japan but also works with an international perspective, so as to uncover an alternative film history. This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of liberation for North and South Korea, and is an important moment for reflecting upon Japan’s sixty-year postwar period. To re-examine these works together is, I believe, a significant step toward a more accurate understanding of history.
Hinatsu Eitaro = Huh Young, Kanai Seiichi = Kim Hak-seong, Inoue Kan = Lee Byoung-woo, and Ube Takashi = Kim Sun-myoung are just a sampling of zainichi filmmakers, but they are familiar faces in film history, so here we offer a collection of works connected to them. Film scholars will not want to miss the following group of films: A Filmmaker with Three Names, a portrait of Hinatsu Eitaro; The Man with Two Names, a new work about Kanai Seiichi; and Homeless Angel, which caused a stir when it was discovered in South Korea this year.
We have tried to include as many works by zainichi artists as possible, such as: Pak Su-nam’s The Other Hiroshima, which follows zainichi hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors); Oh Deok-soo’s Against Fingerprinting and a screening of his Special Invitation Film Zainichi; Oh Choong-kong’s Hidden Scars; Shin Ki-soo’s Until the Day of Liberation; Koh Hiroo’s Summer in Osaka, 1968; and Kim Duk-chul’s The River of Reconciliation. From the younger generation of filmmakers, we selected colorful works not of the traditionally accusatory type, including: Kanamori Taro a.k.a. Kim Seung-yong’s Tibet Tibet; Kim Sung-woong’s Hana Hanme; Matsue Tetsuaki’s Identity; and the zainichi Chinese artist Ren Shujian’s Summer Vacation in North Korea.
Works by Japanese artists are also worth seeing. These include: To the People of the World, Mori Zenkichi’s documentary of Korean hibakusha; Okamoto Yoshihiko’s A Message to the Citizens of the World; Maeda Kenji’s magnum opus Telling the Stories of a Million Lives; and three films—To the Japs, Asia is One, and the new work Headhunter’s Song, all by the NDU (Nihon Documentarist Union), which has counted Nunokawa Tetsuro, Inoue Osamu, and many others among its members.
This film festival pays particular attention to Asia, as the late Ogawa Shinsuke had advocated. Before his death, Ogawa was beginning preliminary shooting for a documentary on Filipina brides who married into families from Okura Village in Yamagata. This unfinished film, Hijiori Story, had been screened only once, at the “Farewell Service for Ogawa Shinsuke” in 1992. In memory of Ogawa, we decided to open this year’s festival with another screening of this film.
We also added a number of films previously unreleased in Japan. These are: Nostalgia and That is the Sky Over Seoul from South Korea; Snow Melts in Spring from North Korea; and Lee Hak-in’s Red Tengi from Japan. Other highlights include works rarely seen in Japan, such as the feature film A Silver Hairpin from the Chongryon Film Studio and assorted documentary films and newsreels.
Zainichi normally refers to North and South Koreans who have been permanent residents of postwar Japan. In this program, however, we chose to break from convention and define zainichi in a broader sense. Needless to say, our goal was to put together a program that gives weight to the Asian perspective, which is a hallmark of this film festival, while exploring other ways of being Japanese.
Finally, I wish to express my gratitude to everyone involved at the Korean Film Archive and the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, and to the individual filmmakers and their families for their help in providing films and materials.
Note: Many of these filmmakers have both Japanese and Korean names.
(ex. Inoue Kan = Lee Byong-woo)