Children of Soleil(Soreiyu no kodomotachi)
JAPAN / 2011 / Japanese / Color / Blu-ray (SD) / 107 min
Director, Photography, Sound, Editing, Source: Okutani Yoichiro
In Tokyo, on the shore of the Tamagawa River estuary, a man repairs motorboats. He also lives in a boat. On the riverbank, he chats with homeless people and elderly neighbors, his dogs always by his side. At times he faces the camera to speak with the filmmaker, who is filming him. The director gazes at him fixedly, watching and listening persistently. Through this can be felt the strong will to make a film.
[Director’s Statement] I was looking for stray dogs. It was to make a film on the theme of Tokyo. One day when I was in elementary school, I was absentmindedly staring out the classroom window and saw that a dog had strayed into the schoolyard, and all of us in the classroom started an uproar. Nowadays one rarely sees stray dogs in Tokyo. When I heard that some dogs strayed onto the runway of the airport on the sea, I headed for the town at the mouth of the Tama River at Tokyo Bay. There I met people. A fisherman said he threw away his fishing permit a long time ago. A Korean Japanese who runs a waste treatment site said the garbage is a gold mine. A homeless person who was cycling around collecting empty cans said he gets 105 yen per kilo. Those people told me about the owner of the troublesome dogs. The owner lived in a boat with the dogs and collected motorboats to repair to make a living. He kindly served me an unsellable fish that he received from a fisherman in lieu of payment for repairs. We are all dogs living in the big city where people throw things away and pick them up. We are mongrels, strays, and we live here in Tokyo.
Born in Nakatsugawa, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, and brought up in Tokyo, he graduated from the Faculty of Letters at Keio University and then studied under Sato Makoto and Tsutsui Takefumi in the graduate documentary course at the Film School of Tokyo. This work was initiated as one part of the documentary project Tokyo, which Sato Makoto left behind at his death. At the moment, he is involved, with other directors, in an ongoing multi-projection project called Documentary Tokyo. Among his other works is Nippon no misemonoyasan (2001–2010), which was born out of communication with a sideshow troupe over a period of ten years.