Yamagata and Film

October 10–11   [Venues] CL CS Yamagata Citizens’ Hall (Large Hall, Small Hall)


Takahashi Takuya, the former YIDFF Yamagata Office Director who served for 10 years and who was an active producer of films made in Yamagata, passed away suddenly last October at the age of 66. YIDFF pays tribute by screening documentaries and the first fiction film he organized with production committees involving ordinary Yamagata citizens. Warabinokou, shot on location in Yamagata, is also a memorial to the director Onchi Hideo who departed last year, who had served on the Director Guild of Japan Award jury at YIDFF 2009. Snow Poem is a film shot entirely on location in Hijiori Onsen in Yamagata, recently discovered after 47 years.

Warabinokou: to the Bracken Fields
JAPAN / 2003 / 125 min
Director: Onchi Hideo
Producer, Screening support: Takahashi Takuya

A masterpiece that questions the essence of human life and death, set in a deserted place where passing the age of sixty means you must leave the village and join the other elderly who all live together on their own. Director Onchi Hideo put his heart and soul into this work, even going so far as to fund its production. He also funded the production committee he set up in Yamagata, where it was filmed. It was also a pivotal work for Takahashi, whom it led to later make numerous other films. Uncannily, Onchi would pass away in the same year as Takahashi.

Oct. 10 CS

A Voiceless Cry
JAPAN / 2015 / 122 min
Director: Haramura Masaki
Producer: Takahashi Takuya (plus 6 co-producers)

Poet Kimura Michio was the first-born son of a sharecropper in Magino, a hamlet in Kaminoyama, Yamagata. He lost his father in the Pacific War, and later in peacetime he found himself at the mercy of the government’s misguided agricultural policies. Beginning in his teens, he toiled in the fields, provided for his family, experienced life in the village, and continued to give voice to the silenced Japanese farmer through his poems. The film is a look at Kimura’s life and poetry.

Oct. 10 CL

Yamagata Film School for Citizens
Rising Sun, Why So Red—70 Years After the War: A Farmer Poet’s Journey
JAPAN / 2015 / 50 min
Director: Ito Kiyotaka, Yamagata Broadcasting Company

A TV documentary produced by Yamagata Broadcasting in 2015, inspired by A Voiceless Cry. The film follows Kimura Michio as he explores the area of China where his father died. Supported by and featuring YIDFF 2007 Ogawa Shinsuke Award winner director Feng Yan.

Oct. 10 CS

Snow Poem
JAPAN / 1976 / 80 min
Director: Hatano Katsuhiko
Screening support: Documentary Dream Center

A man who lost his house and family in a fire due to his own fault finds his emotional wounds healed through an encounter with an innocent girl in the snow country. Shot on location in Hijiori Onsen, Yamagata Prefecture, many local residents appear as extras in this legendary fiction film from almost half a century ago. Hijiori History Research Group had been looking for the film for some years when researchers at the National Film Archive helped them reach the family of the deceased filmmaker. On this occasion, the film was digitized from 35mm negative film guided by a sole remaining 16mm print. Snow in Hijiori Onsen, another film directed by the same director, will be screened in the “Enchanting Tohoku through Open-air Cinema!!” program.

Oct. 11 CL