Program in English

Documentary Dream Show / Yamagata in Tokyo 2008

» Screening Schedule PDF file [English]


Jump out and feel the world through documentaries!

A six-week documentary film festival featuring the major lineup from Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2007, with additional programs especially put together for this Tokyo extravaganza! Showing are a total of 129 films from around the world, most with English subtitles.


Sept. 20 (Sat) – Oct. 3 (Fri)

At Pole Pole Higashi-nakano

Oct. 4 (Sat) – Oct. 17 (Fri)

At Athenee Francais Cultural Center

Nov. 1 (Sat) – Nov. 14 (Fri)

At Pole Pole Higashi-nakano

** Final week of Nov. 8 is late show only.


For inquiries, contact: Cinematrix

3F ID Kawadacho Bldg., 7-6 Kawadacho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0054

Phone 03-5362-0671 / Fax 03-5362-0670 / Email



+ Pole Pole Higashi-nakano

4-4-1 Higashinakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo (1 minute walk from Higashi Nakano Station on JR+ Toei Oedo lines)
Tel: 03-3371- 0088


+ Athenee Francais Cultural Center

2-11 Kanda Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (7 minute walk from Ochanomizu or Suidobashi Stations on JR + subway lines)
: 03-3291-4339 (13:00-20:00)


Program 1 / Souls Torn Apart

Program 2 / Get Public!

Program 3 / March On, Youth!

Program 4 / Music Documentaries Yamagata Style

Program 5 / The Traveling Camera

Program 6 / View from Cambodia

Program 7 / Wild, Wild Cinema

Program 8 / Wandering Youngsters - NOW and CLASSICS

Program 9 / Germany - Black – Box

Program 10 / The Man Who Shot Zao & The Man Who Lived for Manchuria

Program 11 / Dramatic Science! – Yamagata Science Theater in Tokyo

Program 12 – DDS2008 Special Program Part 1 / Okinawa, Edge of Image - Cinema Version

Program 13 – DDS2008 Special Program Part 2 / China! 20 Years of Independent Documentary

Program 1 / Souls Torn Apart


Feng Ming A Chinese Memoir

CHINA / 2007 / Chinese / Color / Video / 183 min
Director: Wang Bing

Grand Prize winner YIDFF 2007. An elderly woman walks along a snowy road toward her apartment. The name of this woman, dressed in red as she sits on her sofa, is He Fengming. She worked as a reporter for a local newspaper and married, but an article written by her reporter husband got them labeled as counter revolutionaries, and they were sent to separate forced labor camps . . . . This work presents her magnificent story spanning some three decades, from her repeated persecution under the two reformatory campaigns in China from the 1950s through her rehabilitation in 1974. The latest work by director Wang Bing, who won the Grand Prize at YIDFF 2003 for his nine-hour epic Tie Xi Qu: West of Tracks.



ARGENTINA / 2007 / Spanish / Color, B&W / 35mm / 150 min
Director: Nicolás Prividera

1976, under the Argentine military dictatorship. Marta Sierra disappeared suddenly. Her son, director Nicolas Prividera, was six years old at the time. He gathers together fragments of his lost mother as he questions her partners from the underground movement, related organizations and her colleagues at the time about this mystery. This work is not only a suspense-laden depiction of Martafs disappearance but also reveals the circumstances in Argentine history where numerous people were killed and erased. The directorfs stance of not letting memory fade is moving.



-ARGENTINA / 2002 / Spanish / Color, B&W / Video / 127 min
Director, Script, Editing, Sound: Ernesto Ardito, Virna Molina
Filmmaker Raymundo Gleyzer was abducted and killed by the Argentinean military dictatorship in 1976. This film depicts his life, as well as the history of anti-war cinema and liberation movements in Latin America during the 1960s and 1970s, with extensive usage of the films he left behind, home movies and archive footage. Through its brisk tempo, suspenseful developments and the enchanting music that envelops the entire film, memories and ideals that could not be destroyed by the CIA or the military junta are resurrected.


I Am the One Who Brings Flowers to Her Grave

SYRIA / 2006 / Arabic / B&W / Video / 110 min
Director: Hala Alabdalla, Ammar Albeik

Unable to return even once to her hometown in Syria since leaving in 1981, Hala begins shooting a film in France with her young friend Ammar, who has a camera. Intimate interviews with friends who remain separated from their homeland as old age approaches, and scenes showing the creative process of her painter husband, now exiled for twenty-five years. The camera, with its frequent hand-held shots and extreme close-ups that seem to reject an objective perspective, glides freely through time and space, revealing the poetry and urge to create poetry in daily life while lamenting the relentless passage of time and giving voice to love for onefs homeland.


Jenin Jenin

Director: Mohammad Bakri

No English subtitles.

Actor Mohammad Bakri enters the Jenin Palestinian refugee camp immediately after the April 2002 genocide to film what the Israeli forces left behind, interviewing victims and recording the damage.


Since You Left

PALESTINE, ISRAEL / 2006 / Arab, Hebrew, English / Color / Video / 58 min
Director: Mohammad Bakri

The Palestinian-Israeli actor Mohammad Bakri stands before the grave of Palestinian writer and politician Emil Habibi, a close friend who influenced his own work, and speaks about the things that have come to pass in his life. Bakri struggled bitterly as his two nephews were persecuted for their involvement in a terrorist incident, and the screening of his documentary Jenin, Jenin was prohibited in Israel. While reflecting on the words of Habibi, Bakri calls for both Israel and Palestine to face each other and come to grips with their own foolishness.



ISRAEL / 2003 / Hebrew, Arabic / Color / Video / 85 min
Director: Ruthie Shatz, Adi Barash

As Dudu and Nino, immigrant teenage prostitutes, course through the streets of downtown Tel Avivfs Garden district, the camera painfully depicts their intimate friendship and hopes for the future.


Hope Dies Last in War

INDIA / 2007 / English, Hindi, Bengali / Color, B&W / Video / 80 min
Director: Supriyo Sen

During the third Indo-Pakistan war in 1971, numerous soldiers were taken prisoner by both countries. Families seeking the release of the Indian POWs fill the void of 30-plus years caused by their loved onesf absence with their enduring love.



Program 2 / Get Public!


Fragments of depopulation

JAPAN / 2007 / Japanese / Color, B&W / Video / 10 min
Director: Kimura Takuro, Miyoshi Hiroaki

A grandmotherfs song leads toward this place in a spreading bluish monochrome glow. Cats and the elderly, and hints of the sea and the wind, lie within a feeling of comfort akin to being submerged in the sea.

(playing with) Public Blue

JAPAN, GERMANY / 2007 / Japanese, English / Color / Video / 70 min
Director: Anke Haarmann [AHA]

Defining ghomeless,h gparks,h and gpublich as it focuses on forced evictions by the Osaka government in 2006, this incisive, inventive, and amusing video investigates the state of Japanese society.


The Monastery

DENMARK / 2006 / Danish, English, Russian / Color / 35mm / 84 min
Director: Pernille Rose Grønkjær

Vig purchased Hesbjerg Castle fifty years ago, aiming to turn it into a monastery. His wishes are fulfilled when the Russian Orthodox Church officially decides to convert the Danish castle into a church and convent. The beautiful Russian nun Sister Amvrosija and others arrive for preparations, and it seems his dream is going to be realized without a hitch . . . But this elderly bachelor, who has gone without falling in love for his eighty-two years, finds himself repeatedly coming into conflict with Sister Amvrosija and her different cultural background and values. The film embraces Vig with tenderness and humor as he gradually opens up, however clumsily.


The Drown Sea

INDONESIA / 2006 / Indonesian, Sundanese, Javanese / Color, B&W / Video / 94 min
Director: Yuslam Fikri Anshari (Yufik)

The Segara Anakan Lagoon is transforming into land due to silt buildup. Faced with having to give up fishing, the local people search tentatively for a new lifestyle, occasionally singing as they come to terms with their new land and its scenery.


Playing between Elephants

INDONESIA / 2007 / Aceh, Indonesia, English / Color / Video / 90 min
Director: Aryo Danusiri

One year after the 2004 tsunami, the reconstruction of East Geunting village in Aceh began with funds from U.N. Habitat and elsewhere. Under pressure by local elders, villagers, builders, and officials, what will become of the village chief and his village . . . ?


Golden Dances

IRAN / 2006 / Farsi / Color, B&W / Video / 26 min
Director: Ali Kalantari

A craftsman used to make golabetoon, gold brocade for womenfs clothing, using a secret technique. When he loses family to war and runs out of materials, the old man gracefully weaves with the ironies of history.

(playing with) We Corner People

NEPAL / 2007 / Nepalese / Color / Video / 49 min
Director: Kesang Tseten

People living in the far corners of Nepal, isolated by rivers and with no shops or electricity, cheerfully build a bridge. These free-spirited residents sing the praises of their lifestyle on the border of modernity and tradition.


192-399: A Story about the House Living Together

KOREA / 2006 / Korean / Color / Video / 126 min
Director: Lee Hyun-jung

A group of high-spirited men of the gHouse Living Togetherh occupies an apartment complex marked for demolition due to redevelopment. However, as they face up to a harsh winter, something quietly begins to change . . .



USA, QATAR / 2006 / English, Arabic / Color / Video / 10 min
Director: Sally Van Gorder

In Doha, the Qatar campuses of prestigious foreign universities form a huge academic town. This visual poem in-corporates various speeds and impressions of Qatar from the verbal fragments of fifteen Arab women.

(playing with) The Description of Bankruptcy

KOREA / 2006 / Korean / Color / Video / 61 min
Director: Lee Kang-hyun

In economically burgeoning South Korea, individuals are expendable. Rhythmical editing and dryly ironic narration convert the arid wind evaporating individuality from society into a visual guerilla poem.


OUT: Smashing Homophobia Project

KOREA / 2007 / Korean / Color / Video / 110 min
Director: Feminist Video Activism WOM

A high-spirited project in which three love-torn lesbian high-school girls in Seoul talk and sing to their own cameras, to have their say to themselves, their lovers, their families, and the world.


Waban-Aki: People from Where the Sun Rises

CANADA / 2006 / English, French, Wabenaki / Color / Video / 104 min

Director: Alanis Obomsawin

Yvonne MfSadoques rocks forward in her chair. Shefs lived for over a century, in the Abenaki community of Odanak, and has no shortage of stories to tell. gThe priest would march into our home and order us to stop dancing. We were going to the devil, he said.h She pauses, a humorous glint in her eye. gBut you know—I donft really believe in the devil. Do you?h MfSadoques is in conversation with Alanis Obomsawin. Obomsawinfs illustrious career comes full circle with this film. Having dedicated nearly four decades to chronicling the lives of Canadafs First Nations, she returns to the village where she was raised to craft a lyric account of her own people.


Tie Xi Qu: West of Tracks

-CHINA / 2003 / Chinese / Color / Video / 545 min
Director, Photography, Editing: Wang Bing

The Tie Xi district in Shenyang in northeast China was established during the Japanese occupation and transformed into a highly populated industrial area. This unusually long-form documentary, taking us on a tour of this now decaying area, spreads over nine hours and three parts entitled Rust, Remnants, and Rails. Factories and towns become ruins, people are buffeted by change, and time ebbs away. An extraordinary documentary that puts the realities facing Chinese society into stark relief, through an exclusive and extended exploration of the region. Grand Prize, YIDFF 2003.



Program 3 / March On, Youth!



JAPAN / 1994 / Japanese / Color / Screened on DV cam / 40 min / Award of Excellence, YIDFF 95

Director: Kawase Naomi


(playing with) Tarachime birth/mother

JAPAN / 2006 / Japanese / Color / Video / 39 min
Director: Kawase Naomi

The director raises her voice in anger, blaming her foster mother for threatening to abandon her as a young girl. Her impatience with her foster motherfs senility, and her offectionate gaze on the ageing naked body. The birth of her son. One life grows old and draws closer to death, and another life has been bestowed through birth. This moving work quietly juxtaposes both. Latest documentary work by Kawase Naomi, who recently won the Grand Prix at the Cannes International Film Festival.


Lick Salt—A Grandsonfs Tale

CANADA / 2006 / English / Color, B&W / Video / 78 min
Director: Ryan Feldman

Grandmother Cecile is estranged from director Ryan Feldmanfs father, who has barred all contact between the two of them. Ryan begins forming a relationship with his grandmother after encountering her for the first time in fifteen years at his grandfatherfs funeral. Senility-induced delusions like talking to photographs and preparing meals for those pictured, fear and uncertainty toward death, and the charming spontanaiety of an elderly Jewish woman. Ryanfs anxiety about the future comes to the fore as he repeatedly switches jobs and moves house, all the while up to his neck in trying to cope with his extraordinary grandmother. A personal documentary that depicts the bonds between grandmother and grandson with a humorous touch.


Somewhere over the Cloud

TAIWAN / 2007 / Chinese, French / Color / Video / 102 min
Director: Hsiao Mei-ling

The directorfs 3-year-old daughter, and the gvirtual fatherh in France she sees via webcam. The girlfs perplexed perspective is interwoven with a letter to the directorfs mentor, the late Robert Kramer, wandering freely through time, space, and perceptions.


Gift of Life

-TAIWAN / 2003 / Mandarin, Taiwanese / Color / Video / 148 min
Director, Producer: Wu Yii-feng

No English subtitles. A devastating earthquake hit Taiwan on September 21, 1999. Based on the written correspondence between the director and his friend, this film illustrates the sorrow of families who lost loved ones in the disaster, and the relationship between the director and his aging father who now lives in an institution for the elderly. Death and separation, despair, and the desire to live. A fine work that questions the meaning of life.


Why Is Yellow Middle of Rainbow?

Philippines / 1994 / English, Tagalog / Color / 16mm / 175 min

No English subtitles for the Tagalog dialogue.

Director: Kidlat Tahimik

Continually expanded and reedited with new sections for screenings at YIDFF 1989, 1991, and 1993, filming for this magnificent ghome movieh began in 1981, and follows the growth of the directorfs own sons while overlaying Philippine history and culture.


Colossal Youth

Portugal, France, Switzerland / 2006 / Portuguese / Color / 35mm / 155 min

Director: Pedro Costa

No English subtitles. Ventura, a man from Cape Verde living in the outskirts of Lisbon, is suddenly deserted by his wife Clotilde and goes back and forth in a daze between the Fontainhas slums where he resided for 34 years and his new abode, where he moved after his slum neighborhood was demolished. Director Pedro Costa, who earlier portrayed the people of the Fontainhas district with Ossos and In Vandafs Room, has Vanda appear once again as he depicts the wanderings of these spirits.



Program 4 / Music Documentaries Yamagata Style



FINLAND / 2006 / Finnish / Color, B&W / 35mm / 80 min
Director: Jouko Aaltonen

Middle-aged men and women singing revolutionary songs. Who exactly are these people, singing shamelessly at schools, libraries, supermarkets and in the streets at night? Numerous music groups were created in the late 1960s, inspired by socialist activism that burned with idealism. Some forty years have gone by, and those once young and beautiful activists have reached the middle age. This Finnish musical documentary film shows them as they sang exultantly back then and the way they sing at their current workplaces, nostalgically and satirically of an era that strove toward a better world. Everyone who watches this film is bound to come out humming these revolutionary hymns.


12 Tangos: Adios Buenos Aires

GERMANY / 2005 / Spanish / Color / 35mm / 86 min
Director: Arne Birkenstock

The end of the 19th century through the early 20th century. Over six million people emigrate from Europe to South America, and Argentina is born. The 21st century arrives. After the economic devastation of 2002, their descendants traverse the opposite route back to Europe in search of work, relying on their ancestorsf passports. This film powerfully intermingles tango music infused with sadness, despair and love for onefs homeland, together with the lives of two women who have decided to travel to Europe, and an elderly dancer who once graced the worldfs stages. The chance to hear tango performed by some of Argentinafs finest musicians is another appeal of this work.


Bishar Blues

INDIA / 2006 / Bengali / Color / Video / 80 min
Director: Amitabh Chakraborty

A road movie whose traveling camera spins a tale together with the blues of Bengali fakirs and unorthodox Muslims.



Program 5 / The Traveling Camera



PORTUGAL, FRANCE / 2006 / Portuguese / Color, B&W / Video / 105 min
Director: Pierre-Marie Goulet

Mesmerized by the songs of Peroguarda villagers in southern Portugalfs Alentejo region, young contemporary Portuguese poet António Reis, Corsican researcher of Portuguese folk music Michel Giacometti, and film director Paulo Rocha visit the village one after another in the late 1950s. This work refreshes the soul, and flows with songs and poetry seeped in sadness, and the atmosphere of the quiet sea and village, fields adorned with vibrant red flowers and the roads traveled by Reis and the others, while interspersing images from Paulo Rochafs films.


Potosi, the Journey

ISRAEL, FRANCE / 2007 / English, Spanish, Hebrew / Color, B&W / 35mm / 246 min
Director: Ron Havilio

In 1970, Director Ron Havilio and his wife Jacqueline, celebrated their wedding in Buenos Aires, and then headed for the Andes mountains with backpacks and a still camera. Along the way they come across the Bolivian mining town Potosí. Twenty-nine years later they revisit Potosí with their three daughters, tying together the present and past. The hushed Andes landscape, and uplifting music. In contrast, the people living in the severe climate. The family walks slowly and communicates deeply. A road movie depicting a family journey. Long awaited work by Ron Havilio, ten years since his film Fragments Jerusalem won the Grand Prize at YIDFF f97.


Looking Through

IRAN, AUSTRALIA / 2007 / Farsi / Color / Video / 81 min
Director: Maani Petgar

The director and a young Iranian woman studying film each take up cameras, drawing toward and moving away from the people and places they encounter in this travelogue that beckons the viewer toward another place.


Mysterious Object at Noon

-THAILAND / 2000 / Thai / B&W / 35mm (1:1.85) / 83 min
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
The director and his crew travel across Thailand asking the people he encounters in villages along the way to tell the next chapter in a story. On screen the locals come to the microphone, telling interlaced stories about a gmysterious object.h This tale continues to mutate with the appearance of each narrator, and moves towards a conclusion that not even the filmmaker could have envisioned.


Route 181—Fragments of a Journey in Palestine-Israel

BELGIUM, FRANCE, UK, GERMANY / 2003 / Arabic, Hebrew / Color, B&W / Video / 270 min
Director: Michel Khleifi, Eyal Sivan

In summer of 2002, Israeli Eyal Sivan and Palestinian Michel Khleifi spent two months traveling their homeland together from north to south along what they called gRoute 181.h Wandering the border defined by United Nations Resolution 181, implemented on November 29th 1947 to create the partition of Palestine, they met Israelis and Palestinians of diverse backgrounds residing in the regions it touches. While capturing the everyday lives of these people on film, the directors skillfully elicit from their tales of the past and present that have amassed on gRoute 181.h Pulsing with a comprehensive concern for the future, this work illuminates issues facing not only Israel and Palestine, but also the world at large: nationhood, ethnicity, discrimination and immigration. Awarded at YIDFF 2005.



Program 6 / View from Cambodia


Paper Cannot Wrap Up Embers

FRANCE / 2006 / Cambodian / Color / Video / 86 min
Director: Rithy Panh

Cambodia, Phnom Penh. The sleeping quarters of prostitutes. They sell their bodies for their families or for money and take abuse from their clients and the madam who employs them, and spend their days haunted by nightmares like HIV infection. This requiem to these dying souls at the bottom of a broken-down society deeply scarred by civil war unfolds with sorrow, and on occasion beauty. The latest work by director Rithy Panh, who continues to confront issues in his homeland Cambodia, and his fourth work in the YIDFF International Competition, more than any other director.



INDIA / 2006 / English / Color / Video / 11 min
Director: Santana Issar

Close sisters appear in home video footage shot over 20 years ago by their parents. One of them, the director, confronts her father over the phone about the alcoholism that drove them apart.

(playing with) Aki Rafs Boys

SINGAPORE, CAMBODIA / 2007 / Khmer, English / Color / Video / 57 min
Director: Lynn Lee, James Leong

Welcome to gAki Rafs Museum,h where Boreak, a young boy who lost his right hand to a landmine, and his pal Vannak live and play amidst a mountain of casually dismantled mines.



Program 7 / Wild, Wild Cinema


Wild, Wild Beach

RUSSIA, GERMANY / 2006 / Russian / Color / Video / 125 min
Director: Alexander Rastorguev, Vitaly Mansky, Susanna Baranzhieva

The Russian seaside, overflowing with people on summer holiday. People unleashed under the bright sun are dizzy with desire for power, money, and pleasure. A photographer who transports a camel from far away to lure tourists, a middle-aged drunken woman, an elderly rapper, a fatso and lanky two some who are constantly trying to pick up women, and a visit by President Putin. The confusion of contemporary Russia is captured in this lively caricature. Co-directed by Vitaly Mansky, whose Private Chronicles, Monologue was screened at YIDFF 2001.



USA / 2006 / English, German / Color / 35mm / 90 min
Director: Jessica Yu

The long wandering journey of life with its tumultuous ups and down, as told by four men with extreme pasts: gay evangelist, German terrorist, kung fu enthusiast, and bank robber. Each has gone to extremes in pursuit of the gtruth,h and in due course confronts the outer limits. This work was developed from the worldview of Euripidesf Greek tragedies. Employing a structure that intersperses masked puppets in the role of an ancient Greek chorus, and the work brilliantly evokes the vibrancy of language through the resonance of the four stories that at first glance seem unrelated. The latest work by Jessica Yu, recipient of the 1997 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject.


Mr. Pilipenko and His Submarine

GERMANY / 2006 / Russian, Ukrainian / Color / Video / 90 min
Director: Jan Hinrik Drevs, René Harder

When something is impossible in Ukraine, they say, gThatfs like a submarine in the steppe.h Vladimir Pilipenko is a sixty-two-year-old pensioner living in a small Ukrainian village. For thirty years he has dreamed of building a submarine and submerging it in the Black Sea. He pours his heart into building the submarine, using his secretly saved pension to buy old parts and metal. But his passion is ignored by his wife, and ridiculed by people in the village. Undeterred, he heads for the Black Sea 400 km away, loading the submarine on a battered truck and crossing vast expanses of plains. Can Pilipenko really transform the impossible into reality? An adventure documentary in pursuit of manly romance.


Dream Walking

CHINA / 2005 / Chinese / B&W / Video / 86 min
Director: Huang Wenhai

A summer in the lives of four self-professed gfamous artistsh: A handstanding behavioral artist, a teacher-cum-painter, a poet, and another who films them. Give yourself over to the monochrome rhythm that wanders and traverses through life and art.



Program 8 / Wandering Youngsters - NOW and CLASSICS

(The films in this program have no English subtitles.)

Globalization, the gap between the haves and have-nots, an opaque futurec. New films by young men living and drifting through contemporary Japan are programmed alongside gClassicsh – films from a previous generation, who passionately strove to find out ghow to live well.h


Permanent Part-timer in Distress

JAPAN / 2007 / Japanese / Color / DVcam / 67 min

Director: Iwabuchi Hiroki

The director, 23-year-old Iwabuchi, is a permanent part-timer who on weekdays does menial work at a factory for 1250 yen an hour, and on weekends takes on temporary work in Tokyo. He joins a demonstration demanding rights for permanent part-timers, and is featured on TV as ga poor, unhappy temporary worker.h Despite having made his own choice to live like this, something feels wrong. During the diary-like filming of his life, something changes.


My New Life, My Brother

JAPAN / 2007 / Japanese / Color / DVcam / 71 min

Director: Warashina Naoyasu


Back Drop Kurdistan

JAPAN, TURKEY, NEW ZEALAND / 2007 / Japanese, Turkish, English / Color / Video / 110 min
Director: Nomoto Masaru

The Kazankiran family came to Japan to evade persecution as Kurds in Turkey. Witnessing the realities faced by the father, the director, once a passive observer, shows outstanding audacity by flying to Turkey!



JAPAN / 2008 / Japanese / Color / Video / 52 min

Director: Kotani Tadasuke


YAMA--Attack to Attack

JAPAN / 1985 / Japanese / Color / 16mm / 110 min

Director: Sato Mitsuo, Yamaoka Kyoichi


Underground Square

JAPAN / 1969 / Japanese / b&w / 16mm / 84 min

Director: Ouchida Keiya


Voices of Young Japan

JAPAN / 1979 / Japanese / Color / 16mm / 30 min

Director: Tsuchimoto Noriaki


Document: Nippon, Year Zero

JAPAN / 1968 / Japanese / b&w / 35 mm / 74 min



Program 9 / Germany - Black – Box

(From YIDFF 2007 program gFacing the Past—German Documentariesh)

From the Nazi era, World War II, and partition to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and reunification, Germany has endured an epoch of upheaval. With a focus on recollections and records of war, postwar German history, and the various issues left behind by East Germany, this program looks at the ways in which recent German documentaries have faced up to their own history.


The Wall

Germany / 1989-90 / German / Color, b&w / DVD screening / 96 min

Director: Juergen Boettcher

No English subtitles


Black Box Germany

Germany / 2001 / German / Color, b&w / 16mm screening / 102 min

Director: Andreas Veiel

No English subtitles


The Kick

Germany / 2005 / German / Color / DVD screening / 82 min

Director: Andreas Veiel

No English subtitles



Program 10 / The Man Who Shot Zao & The Man Who Lived for Manchuria

(The films in this program have no English subtitles.)


The Man Who Shot Zao: Tsukamoto Koji

Tsukamoto Koji was a pioneer of documentary film active during the early Showa period. Now his rare film Mount Zao depicting the piedmont of the Zao mountains is to be screened for the first time in half a century. Also featured are prewar documentary films including an early Showa-period work capturing a rare bear hunt on Mt. Iide, and amazing footage of royal plover hunting.

++ Mount Zao 1935
++ Bear Hunting on the Snowy Ridges (gSetsuryo ni kuma o karuh) 1936
++ Tanzawa, Kurokura River (gTanzawa, kurokura-gawah) 1940

++ Kurobe Gorge (gKurobe keikokuh) 1932


Tsukamoto Kojifs Imperial Capital & Ishihara Kanji in Manchuria

Ishiwara Kanji was a notorious military officer from Yamagata, who became known for his occupation of Manchuria.

++ Pathe News 1927-28
++ Rural March (gDenen koshinkyokuh) 1930
++ Spring in the Imperial Capital (gTeito no haruh) 1932
++ Hunting Methods on Imperial Household Ministry Preserves: Plover Hunting (gKunaisho hozon shuryoho: Chidori ryoh) 1936

++ Ishiwara Kanjifs Footage of Manchuria
++ gSecuring the Peace of the Landh: An Interview with Ishiwara Kanji 1946



Program 11 / Dramatic Science! – Yamagata Science Theater in Tokyo

Come one! Come all! The wonders of nature, the mechanisms of life, and the infinite universe . . . Enjoy the dramatic delights of science films in this special program! Enchanted and lush images, breathtaking spectacle, and emotional drama! Welcome to the amazing world of gscience (non)fiction,h offering excitement for children and adults alike!


Science as an Art: The Amusing World of Jean Painlevé

Jean Painlevé (1902–1989) made over 200 science films in France. The beautiful and enjoyable natural world is portrayed in the belief that gScience is Fictionh! In French with no English subtitles.

++ The Sea Horse 1934
++ The Fourth Dimension 1937
++ The Vampire 1939-45
++ Sea Urchins 1954
++ Shrimp Stories 1964
++ The Love Life of the Octopus 1965
++ Acera, or the Witchesf Dance 1972
++ Liquid Crystals 1978


Palpable Stirrings of Science: A Selection of gCulture Filmsh from the German UFA

UFA created superior Kulturfilm and influenced filmmakers and cultural figures all over the world. This program offers science films that were imported by Japan before the Second World War. Mostly in German with no English subtitles.

++ Green Drifters 1933
++ Mysteries of Life 1937
++ Predators of the Night 1936
++ Roentgen Rays 1937
++ Cold, Colder, Coldest 1937


Shimomura Kenji, Bird Watcher

In Japanese with no English subtitles.

++ One Day at the Tidelands 1940 / Shimomura Kenji
++ Jihishincho 1942 / 16 min / Shimomura Kenji

++ Konkon Bird Story 1949 / 29 min / Shimomura Kenji

++ Raicho 1967 / 32 min / Shimomura Kenji


Kobayashi Yonesaku, Micro Investigator

In Japanese with no English subtitles.

++ Marine Snow: The Origin of Oil 1960 / Noda Shinkichi, Onuma Tetsuro / Cinematography by Kobayashi Yonesaku
++ Lubricating Oil 1960 / Takeuchi Shinji / Cinematography by Kobayashi Yonesaku
++ Erabareta Nyusankin 1965 / 18 min / Kobayashi Yonesaku

++ Zensoku wo Saguru 1969 / 17 min / Sugiyama Masami / Cinematography by Kobayashi Yonesaku


Japanese Masterpiece Selection from Yamagata Screenings

In Japanese with no English subtitles.

++ Science Graffiti 1984 / Horikoshi Kei
++ The Cabbage Butterfly 1968 / Haneda Sumiko
++ Things and Their Weight 1969 / Goto Ichiro
++ The Balance of Nature 1972 / Nunomura Tatsuru


Program 12 – DDS2008 Special Program Part 1

Okinawa, Edge of Image / Cinema Version

This program consists of the films that form the core of the book gOkinawa at the Edge of Imagesh (2007/Miraisha) by former YIDFF Coordinator Nakazato Isao. Fiction and documentary films centering around 1972, the year Okinawa greturnedh to Japanese territory.


All films in this program are in Japanese or Okinawan and have no English subtitles. The only exception is Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (Dir. Jonas Mekas/USA/1972/English, Lithuanian/87 min).

Nakazato Isao will attend most of the screenings Nov. 1 to 7, and other guest speakers are scheduled to add to the discussions! Nov. 1fs program ends with an all-night show, including Takamine Goofs Okinawan Dream Show to be screened with live sanshin accompaniment.



Program 13 – DDS2008 Special Program Part 2

China! 20 Years of Independent Documentary

Wu Wenguang won the first Ogawa Shinsuke Prize at Yamagata in 1993, with his film 1966, My Time in the Red Guards. At the time, only a handful of TV directors had journeyed into the field of independent documentary. Today, over 100 digital video documentaries a year are sent to YIDFF showing a marked contrast over these 15 years. Featuring films shown in previous YIDFF editions and more, a 24-film lineup of fresh youthful works from mainland China. Wu Wenguang will attend his screenings, as will the Huang Niu Tian group – a loose collective of young indie documentarists who are searching for a way to bring their films out into the world.


At Home in the World

(1995 / 120 min / Dir Wu Wenguang)

No English subtitles


1966, My Time in the Red Guards

(1993 / 134 min / Dir Wu Wenguang / Ogawa Shinsuke Prize 1993)

No English subtitles


ETV Special gDocumentary Filmmaker Wu Wenguangh

(1993 / 45 min / NHK program)

No English subtitles


Old Men

(CHINA / 1999 / Chinese / Color / Video / 94 min)
Director, Photography, Editing, Producer: Lina Yang Tian-yi

First-time filmmaker Yang spent over two years documenting her neighborhood's elderly, who gather on a street corner each day. The camera non obtrusively follows their body rhythms, observes their aged physiques, and listens to their chattering and complaints, throughout the four seasons in a dusty Beijing suburb. The old men bear the searing summer heat, hobble through the windy gusts of spring, and disappear when the city is silent under a blanket of snow.


The Square

Directors: Zhang Yuan, Duan Jinchuan
(CHINA / 1994 / B&W / 35mm / 100 min)

No English subtitles. Tiananmen Square, with so much political significance and sensitivity, will prove a formidable task for anyone to cut it down into a film. This film takes on that challenge by eschewing history and politics, and giving meticulous attention to the squarefs everyday activities: a model policeman modestly relaying his heroics, tourists taking snapshots, the raising and lowering of the flag, and people flying kites and exercising.


Before the Flood

CHINA / 2004 / Mandarin / Color / Video / 143 min
Director: Li Yifan, Yan Yu

The Three Gorges Dam, the largest in the world, is scheduled for completion in 2009. Hundreds and thousands of people will lose their homes, and numerous towns will disappear beneath the surface of the reservoir. The camerafs gaze is turned upon the city Fengjie, Sichuan Province, of famous poet Li Bai. Beloved houses are simply destroyed with dynamite, and the people of these submerged towns are forced to move elsewhere, causing a widespread effusion of instability and uncertainty about their futures. Epic history and the feelings of these people are sinking beneath the water. A resonant masterwork that evokes currents of time that have not yet taken shape, insightfully capturing the transition of an era. Grand Prize winner, YIDFF 2005.


Dreams of Changjiang

CHINA / 1997 / Chinese / Video / 85 min

Director: Feng Yan

No English subtitles. The planned construction of the Three Gorges Dam will relocate more than a million villagers to new destinations. Dreams of Changjiang follows the reactions of several families who must decide on how to deal with the change. The filmmaker succeeds in expressing the tenacity and vitality of the Chinese people in the face of an overwhelming fate. Director of acclaimed film Bingaifs debut work.


Chen Lu

CHINA / 2004 / Mandarin (Shaanxi dialect) / Color, B&W / Video / 29 min
Director: Lin Xin

Chen Lu, China, a town famous for ceramics. Peoplefs faces when talking about their town, the landscape and the beauty of the ceramics are portrayed with artistic elegance.

(playing with) Last House Standing

CHINA / 2004 / Mandarin / Color, B&W / Video / 54 min
Director: Gan Chao, Liang Zi

Mr. Jiang has watched over Shanghai through the years. As a young tomboyish lodger staying at his soon-to-be-demolished house questions him, his remarkable life gradually unfolds.


San Yuan Li

CHINA / 2003 / no dialogue / b&w / DVcam / 44 min

Director: Ou Ning, Cao Fei, U-theque

An art documentary in the spirit of city symphonies. San Yuan Li is a now-slum area of Guangzhou with a long illustrious history during the Opium Wars. Young filmmakers shot lots of footage from this photogenic gvillage-within-a-cityh to be edited with a cool sound track.

(playing with) Blossoming in the Wind

CHINA / 2004 / Tibetan, Mandarin / Color / Video / 60 min
Director: Sun Yueling

A blissful journey by young Tibetian Living Buddhas, their disciples and the director through snow-covered sacred mountains. Animals and human beings, all are full of life.


Senior Year

CHINA / 2005 / DVcam / 95 min

Director: Zhou Hao

A year in the life of a class of senior year students from a Fujian high school as they study and study in preparation for university entrance exams.


Out of Phoenix Bridge

CHINA / 1997 / Chinese / Color / Video / 110 min

Director: Li Hong

Four girls from the countryside live crammed in a small room in Beijing. Yet despite long hours of hard work and sad living conditions, these may be the freest years of their lives. Out of Phoenix Bridge follows the rising and faltering of hopes and dreams as they reluctantly return to the closed world of their hometown and future husbands. Ogawa Shinsuke Prize 1997.



JAPAN / 1999 / Chinese, Japanese / Color, B&W / 35mm (1: 1.37) / 120 min

Dir: Li Ying

Debut film of Li Ying, most known for his recent controversial film YASUKUNI. The film unfolds around the lives of two Chinese people in Tokyo: Ma, an old man who has lived the history of modern China, and Xiong, a woman and an artist. Each scene is monochromatically dyed; the old man appears in black and white, and Xiong appears in somber red. This contrast is structural. But the relationships between people, like fin-de-si³cle Tokyo itself are hopeless. The film crew is standing by in advance, near the old man and Xiong. A lot of time must have been spent waiting for the shoot to begin, but an explanation is omitted. What we are able to see (that is, after an agreement with the film crew has been reached), are such things as a conversation between the old man and Xiong revolving around pregnancy, Xiong's relationship with a man, a meal taken by the old man and a maid, a quarrel and so on. The person filmming asks the old man, "Don't you want to leave proof of having lived?," but the old man doesn't answer. Afterward we are told the old man died alone. The corpse is borne by relatives from an upper floor of the apartment and, as it is slowly carried out, a musical accompaniment plays as if to send the old man off. The film depicts with a firm will the lives (and deaths) of Chinese living in Tokyo at the end of the century. Though the film is difficult to label, as the story is quietly offered up, various scenes of what has taken place flash by and make us feel a powerful affection for the film's characters, especially old Ma. Documentary film is a box that can seal up and release reality.


White Tower

CHINA / 2003 / Mandarin (Henan dialect) / Color / Video / 83 min
Director: Su Qing, Mina

The very first of its kind in China, this human drama of love and marriage revolves around deaf women and men. Their vibrant exchange in sign language creates a dynamism faster than sonic velocity.


More than One is Unhappy

CHINA / 2000 / Chinese / Color / Video / 45 min
Director: Wang Fen
The filmmakerfs father is a small-time railway bureaucrat whofs had many extramarital affairs in his day. Her mother claims not to have a single good memory of her married life with him. Funny how a 30-year-marriage can sound so different when described by separate parties in separate interviews. His is a series of romances, hers a flood of tears in candid confessions to the camera, but their daughter is a cut above. She recaptures her parentsf broken marriage with a carefree, humorous yet somehow critical hand, on the tunes of pop music from the old generation. In China too, we are seeing the emergence of a digital video generation that discovers the family as a subject for personal expression. Awarded at YIDFF 2001.

(playing with) Wellspring

CHINA / 2002 / Chinese / Color / Video / 49 min
Director: Sha Qing
In a rural village a father holds his son, who suffers from cerebral palsy. The son canft talk, but moves his foot in response to his fatherfs words, and they communicate. The mother is the familyfs sole breadwinner and works in a hospital far away, but they cannot afford the cost of surgery. The son is becoming weaker, and the family and village watch over him helplessly. Each carefully shot image and the restrained editing convey far more than what appears on screen, and will move you to tears. Ogawa Shinsuke Prize 2003.



CHINA / 2007 / Chinese / Color / Video / 114 min
Director: Feng Yan

Many of the 1.13 million people who will be forced to move by the completion of the Three Gorges dam, currently under construction, are farmers. One of them, the gutsy Bingai, stands her ground as she clashes with government officials urging her to move. Ogawa Shinsuke Prize 2007.



This mini-program introduces new films by young filmmakers who have just formed a collective called Huang Niu Tian. Six of them will come to Japan to attend the screenings!



CHINA, USA / 2007 / Chinese, English / Color / Video / 151 min
Director: Hu Xinyu

After leaving her violent husband, the directorfs older sister moves to the US and remarries. Soon, her daughter moves in with them, but this only causes friction in their new life. Then the director comically intervenes . . .


Torch Troupes

CHINA / 2006 / Chinese / DV cam / 110 min

Director: Xu Xin

No English subtitles. Sichuan opera troupes are in dire straits, as their audience ages and vanishes. One owner tries to modernize with the times, while another stubbornly rushes towards bankruptcyc


Street Life

CHINA / 2007 / Chinese / DV cam / 112 min

Director: Zhao Dayong

No English subtitles. People who live on Nanjing Road in Shanghai have come from around the country to try their hand at garbage collecting, pickpocketing, beggingc



CHINA / 2006 / Chinese / DV cam / 106 min

Director: Liu Gaoming

No English subtitles. A small shop selling pirated DVD movies. Paigu the shopkeeper knows so much about art-house cinema. But can he find his own happy ending?



CHINA / 2007 / No dialogue / DV cam / 62 min

Director: Wang Wo

The noise of firecrackers and shouting. Bystanders watching the scene of a crime. Tiananmen Square by night, as people celebrate crazily the Hong Kong handover. A critical eye on the Chinese crowd.



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