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dir. Kazuhiro Soda, produced by Kiyoko Kashiwagi. 2018.
122 mins. Japan.
In Japanese with English subtitles.
MONDAY, JANUARY 6 – 7 PM w/Kazuhiro Soda and Kiyoko Kashiwagi Q&A
(This event is $10.)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 16 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 26 – 5 PM
INLAND SEA is Kazuhiro Soda’s first film in black-and-white since student days at the School of Visual Arts – an idea suggested by his longtime partner and producer Kiyoko Kashiwagi, whose mother is from Ushimado, the fishing town profiled onscreen. What began as a casual stopover while Soda was shooting his epic documentary OYSTER FACTORY (coming to Spectacle in April) grew into its own stirring meditation on nature, industry and loss; it’s also a rich look into the farming of fish, Ushimado’s main stock and trade. The archipelago is an example of Japan’s shift to metropolitan centers of industrial power, while the film’s elderly protagonists (but especially the 84-year-old Kumiko, a fiery-tongued villager who spends every day near the ocean) typify the country’s aging, marginalized population outside the big cities. Soda doesn’t skimp on the texture of their disappearing way of life, but as he said at the film’s world premiere at the 2018 Berlinale, “I don’t make films that can be reduced to a simple catchphrase.” INLAND SEA is a vision of documentary that’s clear yet contemplative, rigorously made yet almost drunk with the earthy poetry of the sleepy port village’s bygone years.
“The scene in which one of the subjects briefly takes over the film – bringing the camera with her to finally tell a story she probably had never told anyone – was so calmly stunning, raw, and emotional. It didn’t feel forced or manipulated. It just seemed like something very naturally walked into the filmmaking. It’s an art of documentary filmmaking… A subtly moving and breathtaking documentary.” – Bong-Joon Ho, filmmaker (OKJA, THE HOST, MOTHER)
“With its sensitive approach and gentle curiosity, INLAND SEA approaches a certain timelessness. The generous and emphatic engagement that emerges from the film is both moving and beautiful.” – Andréa Picard, Artistic Director of Cinéma du Réel
“Primarily a work of simple and unapologetic humanism, happily in love with people. In the second half, the emphasis shifts to local gossip, chatterbox and unofficial guide Kumiko, an octogenarian of child-like enthusiasms whose garrulousness evidently exerts a powerful spell over the director. The fact that she passed away in 2015 during the editing process — the shooting took place back in 2013 — perhaps helps to explain her increasing prominence as the film unfolds, with Wan-chan and Soda taking more of a back seat, the eponymous sea only intermittently visible.” – Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter
From Radical Observation: The Films of Kazuhiro Soda.