View People View Cities
The World of UNESCO Creative Cities
Yamagata Creative City Promotion Council
Featuring the theme of “View People View Cities,” this special program at YIDFF 2023 presents eight titles selected from an open call for films made in or by filmmakers from the twenty member cities (excluding Yamagata) of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of Film. A collaborative project between Yamagata City and Bradford, England, the short film The Power of Film Against the Landscape—From Yamagata to Bradford (directed by Louisa Rose Mackleston) will also have its premiere, and be screened alongside four “Yamagata Renaissance” films about Yamagata and its traditional culture.
- Here and Here
- KOREA / 2017 / 20 min
Director: Jimbo Yoshimasa
Mina, a magazine copywriter in her seventh month of pregnancy, walks the streets of Busan and interviews citizens about their first memory. The interviews seem to be going well, but Mina has a “certain thought” that she never revealed. It seems to be related to the first memory of her life and the new life soon to be born. The extended take on the riverside towards the end of the film is impressive. This film was made for the UNESCO Busan Inter-city Film Festival by a Japanese director who filmed in Busan with a Korean cast and crew.
- POLAND / 2019 / 25 min
Director: Daria Kasperek
The film shows us just casual, everyday scenes of residents of an apartment complex who like to gather in the courtyard and park. People sitting on benches talking, walking their dogs, working out on the park’s fitness equipment—these are scenes we can see “everywhere” in the world. This “everywhere” is what ties this film to every town in any part of the world today. The pulse in the “breathing” braids together a seemingly incidental sketch of characters, to give rise to something that is universal.
- POLAND / 2018 / 11 min
Director: Marcin Podolec
The protagonist (the author) who has become addicted to cola narrates his real-life experiences. The curse of needing that fix is the same darkness that haunts everyone who lives in modern society. The film is an excellent depiction of such loneliness and anxiety which is embodied in the protagonist’s mental landscape. This is a personal documentary that uses animation techniques to its best advantage.
- Fruits and Vegetables
- POLAND / 2021 / 26 min
Director: Maciej Jankowski
A day in the life of a rebellious boy and his mother who runs a grocery store all by herself. In this drama based on a true story, something happens when the son gets into a fight with a classmate at school. The familiar story of conflict and reconciliation between mother and son is enhanced by the filmmaker’s warm supportive gaze.
Sarajevo (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA)
- BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, SPAIN, UK / 2022 / 15 min
Director: Anna Fernandez De Paco
In an unspecified village, a man is yelling at Boja for being slow at milking the goats. Is the woman watching them the man’s wife? The relationship between the three characters remains unclear. Even though nothing much happens in this film, there’s a intensifying air of foreboding as the screen presence of each character speaks eloquently without saying a word, and allows us to feel something of their past (which is not discussed). The unsettling atmosphere is finally brought to a cinematic catharsis with the echo of their singing. This film was produced under the mentorship of Béla Tarr from the Sarajevo Film Academy’s Film Factory program.
- Under One Roof
- CHINA, FRANCE / 2022 / 20 min
Director: Wang Yu
The story takes place in an apartment in Marseille, where a Chinese sister and brother live with their father. As we eavesdrop on their phone calls and listen in to their conversations, we learn what’s happening in their hometown in China, about her relationship with her boyfriend, about their place of work in Marseille, and other details, gradually getting a sense of how they feel about living in a foreign land. By using an unmoving fixed camera for all shots to capture a closed limited space, the film paradoxically attempts to show the larger world extending outside the image frame.
- SPAIN / 2021 / 8 min
Director: Álvaro Martín Sanz
The narrator’s grandfather left behind 8mm films which included images of the Aqueduct of Secovia in Spain. Her parents, she discovers, in later years also took pictures of the same ruins. Those images trigger an association with the Aqueduct Park in Rome, the filmmaker’s current residence, and the idea of a landscape that will remain unchanged for the next hundred years. By contemplating on the act of mechanical documentation—just recording whatever appears in front of one’s eyes—and lost memories (images) of a family, the filmmaker questions the meaning of filming and raises the theme of what human activity is about.
- Late August
- ITALY / 2021 / 47 min
Directors: Federico Cammarata, Filippo Foscarini
This is an incredible landscape film. Following a wildfire in Sicily, the filmmaker captures nature, people, and animals as an integral part of the landscape. At first glance, the camerawork seems to have a bird’s eye or a god’s eye view, but in fact it conveys the filmmaker’s view on life and death—that all living things revert to planet earth and nature. We find ourselves joyful when the Muslim man on the phone announces the arrival of his newborn. The dynamic long takes are a must-see.
Yamagata (JAPAN), Bradford (UK)
- The Power of Film Against the Landscape—From Yamagata to Bradford
- JAPAN, UK / 2022 / 5 min
Director: Louisa Rose Mackleston
What is the allure of cities and landscapes that film can capture? In this film, the cases of two cities of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of film are presented: Yamagata in Japan and Bradford in England. Louisa Rose Mackleston from Bradford traveled to Yamagata to film the city’s landscape from fresh perspectives.
Yamagata Renaissance Project
- Yamagata × Wagashi—A Future Built on Tradition
- JAPAN / 2022 / 27 min
Producers: Local Support Collective BAQSAN
Yamagata’s wagashi culture is deeply rooted in people’s lives, with some long-established confectionery shops from the Edo period. The film conveys the passions and efforts of wagashi creators and the charm of Yamagata’s wagashi, which continues to evolve while preserving tradition.
- Tan: The Way of the Master Swordsmith KANBAYASHI Tsunehira
- JAPAN / 2023 / 12 min
Director: Nagaoka Hiroaki
All for the sake of making “strong and beautiful” Japanese swords. There was once a major battle dubbed “The Sekigahara of the North” in Hasedo, Yamagata City, and the sounds of sword-making still echo in this centuries-old battlefield. KANBAYASHI Tsunehira is the sole swordsmith in Yamagata, and was granted mukansa status, the highest rank for a swordsmith, at the age of 36. He is over 70, and being one of the world’s top swordsmiths does not stop him from aiming higher. What lies at the heart of his continuous efforts to forge steel and to forge himself? This documentary film explores his passion for making Japanese swords.
- The Sake of Yamagata: Mount Zao’s Blessing
- JAPAN / 2022 / 26 min
Director: Sato Koichi
For about 300 years, Yamagata people have taken advantage of the terroir of Yamagata prefecture to brew sake. Yamagata City has been blessed with high quality water from the Zao Mountains, and three sake breweries have succeeded since the Edo period. This film focuses on the traditional sake brewing process, water, rice, craftsmanship, the characteristics of each sake brewery, and the passion of the sake brewers. It also explores the charm of Yamagata-made sake and its potential for the future.
- A City with Orchestras
- JAPAN / 2023 / 21 min
Director: Sato Koichi
Yamagata City has music that they are proud to share with the world. Over many years, music culture has continued to spread in Yamagata City amidst its abundant natural surroundings. With the Yamagata Symphony Orchestra’s founding honorary conductor, MURAKAWA Chiaki, this documentary conveys the city’s music history, the activities of the professional orchestra and citizens, and the passion of people who devote themselves to music. It approaches the significance of having music and an orchestra in the community.