International Competition
  • Because We Were Born
  • Driving Men
  • Encirclement
    —Neo-Liberalism Ensnares Democracy
  • The Fortress
  • I am Von Höfler (Variation on Werther)
  • Japan: A Story of Love and Hate
  • The Lightning Testimonies
  • The Mother
  • The New Rijksmuseum
  • Oblivion
  • The Pier of Apolonovka
  • RiP! A Remix Manifesto
  • Staub (Dust)
  • Z32

  • Jurors
  • Nurith Aviv
  • Garin Nugroho
  • Karel Vachek
  • Wu Wenguang
  • Yoshimasu Gozo
  • Japan: A Story of Love and Hate

    - UK, JAPAN / 2009 / English, Japanese / Color / Video (HD) / 110 min

    Director, Photography, Producer: Sean McAllister
    Assistant Producer: Hashiura Taichi
    Editing: Ollie Huddleston
    Additional Music: Matthew Hogg
    Online Editing: Mizunuma Haruhisa
    Sound Mixing: Nakamura Takehito
    Executive Producer: Kotani Ryota
    Production Companies: Tenfoot Films, BBC, NHK
    Source: NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) www.nhk.or.jp

    An international co-production by a British director set in Yamagata, Japan: A Story of Love and Hate depicts the sorrows and aspirations of the nation’s working poor. At one time heavily involved in the student movement, Sato Naoki later succeeded in business, only to lose everything in the collapse of the bubble economy. He now works part-time for the post office and lives with his twenty-something girlfriend. The life Naoki exposes to the camera, with charm and sincerity, reflects the times, and his story allows the director to pose honest questions about the dark side of that developed country, Japan. Their deepening friendship produces changes in human relationships. First shown in January 2009 as part of the NHK Hi-Vision series “Tokyo Modern.”

    [Director’s Statement] I work in an unconventional way, with no film crew–just me and my camera. I go places and try to understand them by spending time and finding strong, engaging characters. After my previous film in war-torn Iraq, Japan seemed an easy option. I was asked to make the film by Kotani Ryota of NHK TV, to be part of a series called “Tokyo Modern,” where I was given an open brief to make a film about Japan. I was eager at first but kept getting lost in Tokyo. I soon realized this was to be my biggest challenge to date. My dilemma was that I didn’t really like Japan. It was a very hard society that seemed to kill the individual spirit in people. I would watch the homeless in parks. One said to me, “Don’t feel sorry for me, now I am free.” I wanted to find a film that would capture this complexity. But no one wanted to talk honestly on camera. A year passed, and I still hadn’t found anyone to film. I decided to resign, but the BBC and NHK refused. Then a friend in London introduced me to Naoki, who he’d known when he taught English in Yamagata years earlier. Naoki ran a bar catering to foreigners, and the bar was his window on the outside world, but by the time I found him he had lost everything. Naoki understood my mission and was brave enough to put himself in the film. More interestingly, he used the film as a positive force to challenge and attempt to overcome difficulties in his relationship. The result offers a candid insight into modern Japan, where the many issues I wanted to capture are played out in Naoki’s relationship and difficulties at work. My mission accomplished, after three years in the making, this is my Japan—“A Story of Love and Hate.”

    - Sean McAllister

    McAllister was born in Hull in 1965. After leaving school at 16, he worked in and out of factories before finding a camera and filming his way into the National Film School. He graduated in 1996 and has made award-winning films for BBC, Channel 4, and NHK. He has filmed in Iraq, Israel, and Japan, while always returning to his roots to make films in his hometown of Hull, a small city and former fishing port in the north of England (very similar to Yamagata). He describes his films as “intimate portraits of people from different parts of the world who are survivors, caught up in political and personal conflict, struggling to make sense of the world we live in.” His films include Working for the Enemy (1997), The Minders (1998), Settlers (2000), Hull’s Angel (2002), and Liberace of Baghdad (2005).