domingo, 19 de diciembre de 2010

Sanrizuka: Dainitoride no hitobito (Narita: Peasants of the Second Fortress) (1971)

Runtime: 141
Language: Japanese with English hardsubs
Country: Japan
Color: Black & White
IMDb Link:

Director: Shinsuke Ogawa


A broadcast tower is erected and a fortress stands atop a hill on which are stretched barricades. The farmers lay down a strategy against the Airport Corporation and the riot police. As students battle police outside the barricades, women inside the Second Fortress chain themselves to trees. Their image is not tragic but brimming with confidence. The men continue to dig tunnels and prepare for extended combat. During beating rain and heavy wind, the riot police and Airport Corporation finally begin breaking into the fortress. The riot police even try to pull down trees onto which some of the farmers have climbed. The attacks grow fiercer every day, and the farmers and students reply with volleys of stones, bamboo spears, and students reply with volleys of stones, bamboo spears, and Molotov cocktails against the bulldozers and the fire hoses of the police.

The camera stays in the fortress, recording one month’s worth of action. Just as all those in the fortress begin defensive tactics in anticipation of being arrested, the riot police break into the fortress. Filled with anger and sense of defeat, the farmers quietly speculate on their lack of trust in the state. Presenting the lively appearance of the farmers explaining life in the tunnels as well as the continuing tunnel digging, the film ends on a note that leaves the viewer with the impression that the struggle will continue.

This important film compiles "Magino Story" footage taken by Ogawa for a period of more than ten years after he moved to Magino village. Unique to this film are fictional reenactments of the history of the village in the sections titled “The Tale of Horikiri Goddess” and “The Origins of Itsutsudomoe Shrine”. Ogawa combines all the techniques that were developed in his previous films to simultaneously express multiple layers of time-the temporality of rice growing and of human life, personal life histories, the history of the village, the time of the Gods, and new time created through theatrical reenactment-bring them into a unified whole. The faces of the Magino villagers appear in numerous roles-sometimes as individuals, sometimes as people who carry the history of the village in their memories, sometimes as storytellers reciting myths, and even as members of the crowd in the fictional sequences--transcending time and space. In the end, Ogawa's time coincides with that of the village, and it becomes clear that a new form of time has been created. Sadly, this was Ogawa Shinsuke's last long work. Now, in the 1990s, when most documentary filmmakers have turned toward the “personal”, this film stands as an important example of the opposite pole of filmmaking.

Ogawa Shinsuke
Born in Tokyo in 1936. Served as assistant director at Iwanami Productions from 1960, and participated in Ao no Kai with Higashi Yoichi, Iwasa Hisaya, Kuroki Kazuo, and Tsuchimoto Noriaki. Became freelance in 1964 and began producing films independently with Sea of Youth (1966) and A Report from Haneda (1967). Films were supported at workplaces and universities throughout Japan in the midst of the Zenkyoto student movement. Founded Ogawa Productions in 1968 and lived in the farming village of Sanrinzuka while producing the Sanrinzuka series. Continued making films from the viewpoint of farmers. In 1974 moved to Magino in Yamagata Prefecture’s Kaminoyama City, and made A Japanese Village—Furuyashikimura (1982) and Magino Village—A Tale while growing rice and observing life in a farming village. His dedicated work as organizing member of the first YIDFF in 1989 was instrumental to the festival’s success. He passed away on February 7, 1992.



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