“Nippon”: Furuyashiki Village

1 April, 2017 - 11:00

The program Of Time and Struggle highlights four crucial documentaries made by Ogawa Productions between 1971 and 1986. This collective of filmmakers founded in the late 1960s, under the direction of Ogawa Shinsuke, chronicled with remarkable dedication some of the major political and social upheavals in Japan’s ‘season of politics’ from the 1960s through the 1970s, including the struggles of the student movement and long-term resistance by farmers in Sanrizuka. Ogawa Productions’ work aspired to collective decision-making, achieving an unusual level of engagement with the people they filmed. They aimed to make independent and partisan films, while at the same time developing alternative ways for distributing, screening and discussing their work.

“Nippon”: Furuyashiki Village (Nippon koku: Furuyashiki-mura)

Ogawa Productions

While already living in the village of Magino, where they settled around 1974, the members of Ogawa Productions heard about the existence of a cold air front blown from the Pacific, which damaged crops in the small neighbouring hamlet of Furuyashiki, in the mountains. The collective moved to this small village with only a few houses and an ageing population and spent two years there. Adopting the methods of scientific documentary, the first part of the film is a rigorous investigation of the influence of the cold weather on the crops. Through a series of experiments and with the help of the farmers, the filmmakers hope to discover a way to save the crops and help the population of Furuyashiki. In this small village, the filmmakers found the whole history of modern Japan. They recorded the personal and collective stories told by the old villagers, including ancient tales passed down from their ancestors, their memories of war, as well as their views on the transformations brought about by the modernization of the country. The film is a heartfelt tribute to these people.