A Prospectus of “Image Fukushima”

Fukushima is under an unprecedented situation after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th of 2011. As you know, enormous tsunamis, along with the earthquake, attacked the ocean side of Fukushima, causing the nuclear power plants’ accident. That has changed Fukushima into a place, where an event of human history is proceeding as Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the past. Not only Japanbut also the international community is paying attention to Fukushima now. What circumstances in the past led to the disaster in Fukushima?Where will Fukushima go from here? We still have no answer to that question.On the contrary, we do not know which information to believe, nor do we know who is right. Since 3.11 our common sense for which we trusted our lives has been forfeited.Aside from outside expectations, the people involved must go on with their lives and livelihoods while suffering agonies that can’t be escaped. Even insideFukushima each family and individual face different and complicated situations, while struggling in their positions in the local community. In these circumstances most fall into binary thinking such as: the people involved/the people outside, the victims/the perpetrators, or the protesters/the conformists. Such simple views fall short of being able to grasp the realities of Fukushima.Therefore, we are eager to know: We thrive to make our imagination free to reach the past, the present and the future of Fukushima. And then, we would liketo exchange our revitalized image with other people. In order to realize thishope to the best of our ability, however minute, we established “Image Fukushima” Executive Committee.Many journalists and filmmakers are already beginning to strain their eyes tosee the reality of Fukushima. In fact, the more accurate figures and voices ofthe locals, which conventional mass media must have had ignored, are being recorded by the media. Specialists and companies in each specific field are beginning to offer concrete plans for the future of Fukushima and Tohoku (the northeast region of Japan).In cooperation with these specific fields, we will make and share the recordedimages that would reflect the reality of Fukushima. In this way, we will create an image of the future. We will show the image of Fukushima to the world that is persistently facing reality and continuously sending an affirmative message. For achieving this purpose, we, Image Fukushima Executive Committee, willcreate a base in Japan.

 

Our activities are as follows:

1) Screening in Fukushima area the existing video and film works that can be useful to understand the present conditions of Fukushima.

2) Screening in Fukushima area the video and film works made after 3.11.

3) At the same opportunity of screening, organizing a symposium joined by experts and exchanging and sharing knowledge and images.

4) Archiving our activities described above on the website, and publishing therecords of symposium.

5) Supporting video- and film-making in Fukushima, and making an opportunity of its screening in public.

Image Fukushima Executive Committee

 

What is Image. Fukushima?

Image. Fukushima is a project for organizing discussion and film screenings mainly in Fukushima. The “invisible” threats of radioactive contamination, theinaccuracy of information, and the uncertainty of the future –. In order tomake the first step from this situation, the project aims at exchanging and sharing knowledge and images among people. Also, it supports documentary filmmaking in Fukushima.Image. Fukushima Executive Committee is a volunteer organization, conducted bysuch diverse members as the people engaged in film-related fields, movie fans, writers, editors, part-time workers, and those who wish to sincerely reflectupon Fukushima. We continue to hold regular events with various topics: “The community,” “the environment,” and “the popular revolt” are picked up and prepared as topics of coming special events. Image. Fukushima was named after the word “image,” with consideration to itsvariety of meaning; an iconic mental representation or a visual representation as a noun, to imagine, or to make a visual representation as a verb.

“Let’s imagine Fukushima.”

 

[Gratitude for the Contribution]

We very much appreciate your sincere contributions and financial support to Image. Fukushima. We placed the names of supporting members in a newsletter to express our gratitude. We will send “Image. Fukushima Report” to our new members in a few days.We are continuously recruiting supporting members.Thank you very much for your cooperation.

 

Films

“How Green Was My Valley”1941 / United States / 16mm / 118 minutesDirector John Ford * Subtitles superimposedThe immortal masterpiece by John Ford, drawing a Welsh mining town with whichthe change of society trifles, and which declines in the beautiful afterglow.This cinematic archetype of all

 

“hometowns,” which might remind us of two regions in Fukushima–Iwaki and Iitate: Iwaki had flourished with the Joban Coal Mine, which was replaced by the nuclear industry after the closing. In Iitate,all villagers, who evacuated after more than two months of the incident because of the extremely higher radiation, have suffered for the government’s misleading of information and instruction.

 

“Ikiteite yokatta (It’s Good to Live)”1956 / 16mm / black and white / 48 minutesDirector Fumio KameiNot to repeat the same tragedy–a record of scars left from the atomic bombs,filmed with bold realism that might overturn accepted ideas of cinematic method. The survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki struggle against their trials and tribulations with mutual help, and finally they say,

 

“It’s good to live.”Peace Culture of Japan prizewinner.“Hato wa habataku (Doves Flutter)”1958 / 16mm / black and white / 42 minutesDirector Fumio KameiThe film dramatically records the World Conference for the Prohibition of Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs and the people in protest there. The peace march, whichfirst began with one person, finally turns to be one million at the site. It is the passionate message of peace by the A-bombs survivors.

 

“Sekai wa kyoufu suru: Shi no hai no shoutai (The World is Frightened?The True Nature of Atomic Dust)”1957 / Japan / 16mm / 80 minutesDirector Fumio KameiThe film scientifically examines the effects of the A-bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the radioactive materials=“fallout,” the atomic dust left by the experimentation of the atomic and hydrogen bomb. Director Kamei, born in Fukushima, said with strong beliefs half century ago:

 

“The threats of fallout were made by men. That’s why they will be definitely removed if we put our minds to it.” “Nine Days in One Year”1961 / Soviet Union / 35mm / 108 minutesDirector Mikhail Romm

 

“What is drawn here probably will not happen in actuality–.” The film consists of episodic nine days in one year after a nuclear power plant’s accidentin a small town. With splendid shots it depicts the human relationship of a young scientist exposed to radiation and the workers at the institution–a masterpiece of the Soviet films.

 

“Stalker”1979 / Soviet Union / 35mm / 163 minutesDirector Andrej TarkovskyIn the near future there was an area called

 

“zone” in a small country. “People haven’t been able to get closer there for decades,”

 

“those who approachthere never come back alive” the “zone” might remind us of a land contaminated with radiation. It is said that Tarkovsky predicted the Chernobyler.

 

“Ikiteru uchiga hana nanoyo shin-dara sore madeyo tou sengen.(We Swear! Life is like a Blooming Flower. But When You Die, That’s It.)”1985 / Japan / 35mm / 105 minutesDirector Azuma MorisakiSetting in a small town called Mihama, a string of nuclear power plants, the film portrays the anti-heroism in the life of the characters–touring-show dancers, the Yakuza, a queer high school teacher, a nuclear-power-plant

 

“gypsy”seeking jobs all over Japan. Mihama is in Fukui Prefecture, which holds thirteen nuclear reactors, including in Mihama, in Takahama, in Ouii, and in Tsuruga,the first commercial light-water reactor in Japan.

 

“Shouwa gunden 2: Tsuki no sabaku (The Life of Shouwa Gang of Robbers 2:The Desert of Moon),” a.k.a. “Harenchi zetsugi technique”1990 / Japan / 16mm / 62 minutesDirector Takahisa ZezeA man working at a nuclear power plant was found dead as a drowned body. Whatis a political conspiracy behind it? The movie includes many social elements:Nuclear-power-plant “gypsy,” an old man of the right wing who insists “oneperson at one party, and a suicide note by Koukichi Tsuburaya who is a medalist of Tokyo Olympic in 1964. These social elements blow up with coarse and boldimagination of cinematic entertainment. The director impresses the end of the“Shouwa” period upon the movie. It’s also a superb piece of the blue films!“And Life Goes On…”1991 / Iran / 35mm / 95 minutesDirector Abbas KiarostamiShortly after the major earthquake of Iran in 1990, the film director and hisson travel to the devastated area to look for the children who had appeared onhis film before. In the villages reduced to rubble, they found the survivorshave already started life again. With overwhelmingly exquisite images, the film depicts the splendor of life. Image. Fukushima screened this long-awaited film first in Japan after 3.11.

 

“Gift of Life”1999 / Taiwan / VIDEO / 142 minutesDirector Wu Yii-fengExchanging the letters with his friend, the director describes the grief of the people who have lost their families by the major earthquake of Taiwan in September, 1999. He also depicts the relationship with his aged father living ina nursing home. Death and separation, despair, and craving for living–.

 

“Out of Place: Memories of Edward Said”2005 / Japan / VIDEO / 137 minutesDirector Makoto Sat?Through the interviews with Arabs and Israelis, the film explores Said’s life, born in Palestine, living in New York in the later part of his life, and nowsleeping in Lebanon. Palestinian refugees exiling from the homeland and the Jewish people trifled with by history?what kind of message can their testimonyconvey to the people in Fukushima? In fact, the refugees from Fukushima are now over 30,000 by the announcement of the local government.

 

“Hibakusha: At the End of the World”2003 / VIDEO / color / 116 minutesDirector Hitomi KamanakaThe invisible and intangible threat of the radioactive contamination–. With the cooperation of Dr. Shuntar? Hida, specialist of the treatment of “internal exposure,” the film approaches the astounding realities in Iraq and Hanfordin the Unite States. In the former, the depleted-uranium shells of the US Army have jeopardized the children. In the latter, where plutonium has been produced more than 50 years, the residents antagonize each other–those who believethe radioactive contamination and those who don’t. Now we would learn a lotfrom the true state of Hanford torn apart by the “invisible” conflicts.

 

“Tokyo genpatsu (Tokyo Nuclear Power Plant)”2004 / Japan / 35mm / 110 minutesDirector Gen Yamakawa‘A nuclear power plant suits Tokyo!’ With a command of Tokyo Governor, the project of building Tokyo nuclear power plants has arisen. The uproarious arguments among the bureaucrats and the academics now sound sarcastic and severe.Kouji Yakusho, the Tokyo Governor, turns on his charm with his favorite absurdcomedy.

 

“The Rokkashomura Rhapsody”2006 / VIDEO / color / 119 minutesDirector Hitomi KamanakaIn 2004, a radioactive-waste-disposal plant was built in Rokkasho Village, Kamikita County in Aomori Prefecture, northeastern region of Japan. It was a partof the major national project, which tried to remove plutonium from radioactive waste of 54 reactors all over Japan. Most of the villagers have accepted the project, however, some of them, while insisting on the harmful influences, resist it to protect the rich nature of the land. The director Kamanaka empathizes with “each person” of protesters, such as a tulip farm Kikukawa-san andan organic farm Tomabechi-san. The film would move us with such director’s gentle gaze on the people. “Flapping-of-Wings and the Earth’s Rotation”

 

“Ashes Ashes”“Ashes to Honey”2010 / HD / color / 135 minutesDirector Hitomi KamanakaThe film describes the 28-year protests of the residents in Iwai Island in Yamaguchi, southwestern region of Japan: they are against a nuclear-power plant expansion project, and try to protect rare species and rich nature, with whichthey have lived for a thousand years. It also approaches an energy policy in Sweden, which established a plan for a sustainable society and realized electric power liberalization: Some local communities independently supply with electricity. The film expresses “hope,” a possible future for us.

 

“The Sketch of Mujou”2011 / HD / color / 75 minutesDirector Kouichi OmiyaAbout a month after the Great East Japan Earthquake–. On the screen the filmrepresents spectacles of the aftermath of the earthquakes and the tsunamis. These images, without captions of dates and places, are never interpreted into“information.” This documentary, completed and screened at the earliest among others after the incident, aroused considerable interest in the audiences. It also raises a crucial question, together with the words of Buddhist priest Soukyu Genyuu living in Miharu-Machi, Fukushima: What on earth has our civilization all been for? Or, where will we go from here?“Tsuchimoto Noriaki’s Nuclear Scrapbook”“Genpatsu kirinukich? (A Scrapbook About Nuclear Power Plant)”1982 / VIDEO / 45 minutsDirector Noriaki TsuchimotoThe film only consists of newspaper clippings–a unique masterpiece by a leading Japanese documentary filmmaker Noriaki Tsuchimoto. It traces the atomic energy policy in Japan through the articles of the incidents, such as, the firstatomic bomb in Hiroshima, through radioactive fallout of the Lucky Dragon Incident, to the nuclear power plants’ accidents.Music by Yuji Takahashi and Suigyu Gakudan.Narration by Shuichi Ozawa.Films DirectorsJohn Ford(1894 – 1973)Maine, United StatesHe is a master filmmaker who has personified American Cinema since the Silentera to its Golden Age. A nostalgic theme resonates throughout his Westerns and family dramas featuring the Irish.Fumio Kamei(1908 – 1987)Haramachi (presently Minami Soma), Fukushima, JapanThe maestro who left a deep impression on culture and documentary film in Japan; he was also a great pioneer of the environmental movement.Mikhail Romm(1901 – 1971)Irkutsk, RussiaAfter researching cinema theory, he plays an active role in Mosfilm in the 1930’s as a director. During the 1960’s he also worked on documentaries. Muchfocus went into cultivating his juniors throughout his career.Azuma Morisakib. 1927Shimabara, Nagasaki, JapanSince his 1969 directorial debut with

 

“Kigeki: Onna wa dokyo. (Comedy: The Woman has Courage),” his comedies of the common people’s humanity?dramatizedwith his peculiar sense of action?have been deeply loved by movie fans.Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky(1932 – 1986)Zavrazhye, Soviet UnionWith an imagination rooted in science fiction, his films possessed an aesthetic sensibility that instills a delicate sense of the Classical Elements (water,earth, air and fire). Much passionate support was gathered especially from other artists.Takahisa Zezeb. 1960Oita, JapanPlaying an active part as one of the “Four Heavenly Kings of Pink”, he has won a nearly charismatic popularity since his 1997 film “Raigyo: The Woman inBlack Underwear”.

 

“Heaven’s Story” (2010) is considered one of his majorworks.Abbas Kiarostamib. 1940Teheran, IranOne of the great visionary film authors living today; his productions of easily going beyond the boundary between the artificial and the natural has continued to surprise the world.Yii-Feng Wub. 1960Yi-Lan, TaiwanHis masterpieces are “Moon Children” (1990),

 

“Chen Tsai-gen and His Neighbors” (1997), etc. A leading pioneer of the public media movement in Taiwan, he’s also active in the field of screen education.Hitomi KamanakaToyama, JapanA media activist who’s put effort into developing alternative filmmaking andscreenings. She has been a constant voice of warning on the actual conditionsand dangers of radioactive contamination. After the 3.11 East Japan Disasterincreasing attention is focused her way.Gen Yamakawab. 1957Yamagata, JapanAfter employment at a major stock company, he goes into the motion picture world at age 26. Served as production assistant to Seijun Suzuki, and assistantdirector to Juzo Itami and Masayuki Suo. Since

 

“Karajishi Anego” (1994) he becomes active as a director.Makoto Sato(1957 – 2007)Aomori, JapanAs director his debut work was the documentary

 

“Living on the River Agano” (1992). He left behind many fine works in his lifetime as one of the top documentary filmmakers representing Japan. Sato has also written and published histheories on documentaries in abundance.Koichi Omiyab. 1958Yamagata, JapanHis film

 

“Tadaima: Sorezore no Ibasho” (2010) was awarded the Agency for Cultural Affairs’ movie prize for culture documentary film grand-prix. His workboldly and earnestly gazes at a person’s place of life and death.

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