Japanese

International Competition

Entries in Total: 1,428 Films out of 123 Countries and Areas

October 11–15   [Venues] Yamagata Central Public Hall 6F, Yamagata Citizens’ Hall (Large Hall)

A program that began with the very first YIDFF. Feature-length works were sought from around the world, and from the 1,428 entries emerges a stringent selection of 15 cinematic gems, richly varied and representing the vanguard of world filmmaking.

(Alphabetically shown)

Jurors:
Hong Hyung-sook (KOREA)
Sabine Lancelin (FRANCE)
Ossama Mohammed (SYRIA)
Deborah Stratman (USA)
Suwa Nobuhiro (JAPAN)

-Absence
INDIA / 2018 / 80 min
Director: Ekta Mittal

Men who go missing in India, after leaving their farming villages to earn money in the cities. An overwhelming drive to locate any trace of them rocks their bereft wives and mothers. Distills the sorrow felt at the loss of loved ones into a dreamlike cinematic ode.



-Cachada—The Opportunity
EL SALVADOR / 2019 / 81 min
Director: Marlén Viñayo

A group of five women who earn their living as street vendors take part in a theater workshop. The camera accompanies them as they struggle to confront and triumph over the cruelty of life in the working districts of El Salvador, where women face rampant domestic violence and rape.



-The Crosses
CHILE / 2018 / 80 min
Directors: Teresa Arredondo, Carlos Vásquez Méndez

Union members at a paper plant in a southern Chilean village are massacred, a few days after Pinochet’s seizure of power in a coup d’état. The perpetrators seemed to have escaped prosecution by slipping into the shadows, but testimony uncovered 40 years later brings their motives to light.



-Dead Souls
FRANCE, SWITZERLAND / 2018 / 495 min
Director: Wang Bing

The Chinese Communist Party’s Anti-Rightist Campaign of the late 1950s. Eight hours of survivors’ testimony brings back the bitter cries of all those who were purged, starving to death in re-education camps in the desert. From Wang Bing, director of Tie Xi Qu: West of Tracks (YIDFF 2003) and Fengming, A Chinese Memoir (YIDFF 2007).



-Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
USA / 2017 / 90 min
Director: Travis Wilkerson

The fatal shooting of a black man at the hands of the director’s great-grandfather. Explores this brutal figure, who was violent even with his own family, and unearths the roots of racism so deeply embedded in white American society. The latest work from the director of Accelerated Development (YIDFF ’99) and Distinguished Flying Cross (YIDFF 2011).



-In Our Paradise
FRANCE / 2019 / 77 min
Director: Claudia Marschal

Two sisters seek to escape inevitable poverty in Bosnia—Mehdina, who has immigrated to France with her family, and Indira, who wants to move with her own children to Germany. Dramatically portrays and gives voice to people who are losing the place they belong in an increasingly xenophobic world.



-Living the Light—Robby Müller
THE NETHERLANDS / 2018 / 86 min
Director: Claire Pijman

Follows the life and work of legendary cameraman Robby Müller, using the considerable amount of personal footage he left behind. The documentary reveals how Müller’s life and films were inseparable from the everyday images he captured with the gaze of his camera.



-Memento Stella
JAPAN, HONG KONG / 2018 / 60 min
Director: Makino Takashi

The reduction of the image to the finest grains of film provides us with an invitation to a unique perceptual experience. It evokes a commonplace reality that transcends conventional concepts such as religion or politics—all people begin and end their life on this small planet.



-Midnight Traveler
USA, QATAR, CANADA, UK / 2019 / 87 min
Director: Hassan Fazili

An Afghan couple, both filmmakers, record their three-year journey and flight to Europe with their children after receiving a death sentence from the Taliban. They use the cameras on their smartphones to provide an up-close and personal document of the fears and perils of their escape.



-Monrovia, Indiana
USA / 2018 / 143 min
Director: Frederick Wiseman

The small town of Monrovia—those who live there preserve the old values and traditions. Through his detailed depiction of schools, churches, and farms, director Frederick Wiseman once again shows us the face of modern-day America.



-Reason
INDIA / 2018 / 218 min
Director: Anand Patwardhan

Religious conflict and the spread of Hindu nationalism have become increasingly grave issues in contemporary Indian society. This four-hour monumental work documents the actions of those using reason to resist this state of affairs. From Anand Patwardhan, director of In the Name of God (YIDFF ’93) and Father, Son and Holy War (YIDFF ’95).



-Self-Portrait: Window in 47 KM
CHINA / 2019 / 110 min
Director: Zhang Mengqi

The village in the mountains of China that the director has long made the subject of her camera. The traces of memories and landscapes that fade away before one’s eyes. An 85-year-old man is recounting the story of half of his life, while a young girl draws portraits of the village elderly. From Zhang Mengqi, director of Self Portrait: Birth in 47 KM (YIDFF 2017).



-Transnistra
SWEDEN, DENMARK, BELGIUM / 2019 / 96 min
Director: Anna Eborn

Transnistria is a small country located on the border of Moldova and the Ukraine. A girl and five boys spend a summer in the ruins of a building by the river banks. That brief radiant moment in which friendship vies dangerously with love is documented by the camera on 16mm film.



-Your Turn
BRAZIL / 2019 / 93 min
Director: Eliza Capai

Students in São Paulo, Brazil throw themselves into a developing political movement, participating in demonstrations against public transportation fee hikes and occupying schools in opposition to the planned reorganization of the nation’s public high school system. As the police response to their actions becomes more violent, Brazil witnesses the birth of a far-right nationalist regime.



-Yukiko
FRANCE / 2018 / 70 min
Director: Noh Young-Sun

The director lives in France and her mother in Korea—during the war, her grandmother moved from Japan to Seoul, to join her Korean lover. Traversing Ganghwa Island where her mother lives, and Okinawa, where her grandmother chose to spend her final days, a fictional tale coaxes to life this wartime tragedy.