Oct. 8 (Wed.) After Ogawa Productions Publications / index / Japanese Documentary

A Grasscutter's Tale

(20k) Producer: Hatano Yukie
Director: Fukuda Katsuhiko
Photography: Uriu Toshihiko, Fukuda Katsuhiko
Narrator: Shimizu Koji
Music: Komukai Kyoko
Titles: Ishige Hiromichi
Sound Editor: Asanuma Yukikazu
Photo, Drawing: Hatano Yukie
1985 / Color / 16mm (orig. 8mm) / 82 min

Grandma Someya was born in Meiji 32 [1899]. She was one of the people farming the land that was set aside for the construction of Narita airport, as shown in Ogawa Shinsuke's Sanrizuka series. She opposed the planned second phase of the airport and split with her family, so now she lives alone. The film is made up of nineteen stories told in Grandma Someya's own words: the story of her sons who have passed away; of her husband who was a barber; of a strange dream; of the time she first came to Sanrizuka to cultivate new fields; of how she once ate only matches when she was a child, and so on. As the camera follows Grandma Someya going about her farm work, these personal memories, dreams, and realities take on the form of a series of lamentations or exemplary tales. Unlike the violent Sanrizuka series, this is a modest and beautiful film: an extension of Ogawa's style in Magino Story--Raising Silkworms (1977), and a fascinating illustration of the start of a shift in the object of Japanese documentary away from society and community and towards the personal. The film was shot on 8mm and blown up to 16mm. The director, Fukuda Katsuhiko, worked as assistant director to Ogawa Shinsuke on all the Sanrizuka series from Winter in Narita ("Nihon kaiho sensen--Sanrizuka," 1977) onwards. In 1978 he became an independent director and moved to Sanrizuka, where he has produced numerous films, mostly in 8mm.


Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee