|New Docs Japan|
JAPAN / 2008 / Japanese / Color / Video / 88 min
Director, Photography, Editing: Nagaoka Noa
Sound: Mizoe Maiko
Music: Oba Yoko, Strike, Murata Satoshi
Production Company, World Sales: NPO Hyotankara KO-MA (Fujita Tomotake)
In the Shima district of Omihachiman in Shiga Prefecture, members of the Shima Seniors Club mobilize to revive the Hongara Sacred Torch Festival, which has been dormant for 50 years. The seniors’ pride in and love for their region touches the hearts of young people from the area. After much effort, the day of the festival arrives, and the torch flames reflect off the sweat-drenched faces of the people. This film was produced as part of a local citizens’ effort to revitalize the region.
[Director’s Statement] “Isn’t there something we can do before we die?” How will the “last testament” of the old folks in a village with a 2,000-year history be seen by people living in the present? This is a film in which filmmaking and the elders’ passion converged at times to generate a new strength in the village.
Born in Kyoto, Nagaoka attended the CinemaJuku seminar led by film director Hara Kazuo and produced Just a Life (2002, YIDFF ’03). Her other films include Scenery at Dawn (2005) and Tanepirika (2006). Since 2008, she has been working on “Testament: A Letter to the Future,” a participatory filmmaking project in Omihachiman, Shiga Prefecture. Hongara won the audience prize at the 2009 Image Forum Festival in Tokyo.