YIDFF 2005 Information

BORDERS WITHIN: 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 reexamine these works together is, I believe, a significant step toward a more accurate understanding of history.

Within this film history, names such as Hinatsu Eitaro (Huh Young), Kanai Seiichi (Kim Hak-seong), Inoue Kan (Lee Byoung-woo) and Ube Takashi (Kim Sun-Myoung) represent only a small sample of ethnic Korean directors in Japan, but here we have assembled works pertaining to them due to their importance as the ‘early of filmmakers.’

Films by zainichi filmmakers have been covered to the fullest extent possible, and are complemented by an extensive collection of zainichi-themed works by Japanese directors. Zainichi (dir. Oh Deok-Soo), an epic work describing fifty years of history of ethnic Koreans in Japan, will be screened as a special invitation film.

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, screened only once before at Ogawa’s wake in 1992, has been selected as the opening film for YIDFF 2005 in remembrance of the great director.

.We also added a number of films previously unreleased in Japan. These are: Nostalgia and That Is the sky over Seaul 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.

—BORDERS WITHIN Coordinator, Yasui Yoshio

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