To the Alley

(“Roji e”)
Director: AOYAMA Shinji

2000 Japanese Subtitled in English Color 35mm 64 min

Production Company: Slow Learner, Brandish
Producer: KOSHIKAWA Michio, SATO Kumi
Photography: TAMURA Masaki
Editing: YAMAMOTO Ako
Music: SAKAMOTO Ryuichi, OTOMO Yoshihide
Sound: KIKUCHI Nobuyuki
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[Festivals and prizes] Locarno 2000

[Synopsis] Acclaimed Eureka director Aoyama follows the life journey of a famous writer.
One of post-war Japan’s most prominent writers Nakagami Kenji passed away in 1992. His novels and essays express his strong attachment to his homeland Kishu, a mountainous region with a dramatic shoreline opening to the Pacific Ocean. The street alley was another prominent motif in his writings. Cineaste Aoyama (Helpless, Shady Grove, Eureka) combines Nakagami’s 16mm footage of Kishu and the alleys of its towns with new images shot with cinematographer Tamura Masaki (Himatsuri, Suzaku) to follow the path of Nakagami’s life and art. Screenwriter Izuchi Kishu (Raigyo, Hysteric) travels along with the camera on this cinematic essay.


Born in 1964. After graduating from university, he worked as a freelance assistant director in films such as Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s The Guard from Underground, and Daniel Schmid’s Written Face. In 1996 he directed his first feature Helpless, which was selected for Toronto, Turin, and other international film festivals. In 1999, Variety magazine chose him as one of 50 creative people to watch out for. His works include Two Punks, Wild Life, An Obsession, Shady Grove. His three-hour epic Eureka (Cannes Competition 2000) was awarded the FIPRESCI award.