“The first rule in farming is that you are never to hope for an easy way. The land demands your effort.” The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin), the second feature from C.W. Winter & Anders Edström, is an eight-hour fiction shot for a total of twenty-seven weeks, over a period of fourteen months, in a village population forty-seven in the mountains of Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. It is a geographic look at the work and non-work of a farmer. A description, over five seasons, of a family, of a terrain, of a sound space, and of a passage of time. A georgic in five books. A film that can, for a day, be somehow lived in.
"Jacques Rivette once wrote that a good film begins with something being wrong. In The Works and Days there is something wrong in almost every shot, something that makes us look more closely, more attentively, until we realize that it’s not the shot that is wrong but the way we normally look at things. Those images do not want anything from us; they ask everything of us…In daily life, humanity has quite successfully and tragically domesticated the thickness of things, nature, and people. Cinema was quick to follow in this domestication. It’s a small miracle to discover a film that resists these modes of confined representation and reminds us of the roughness of things, their independence and inherent beauty: the dim light touching a somber window, the reflections of bodies in the water at dusk, the smell of tomatoes brought as gifts, a concert of frogs, a tired body leaning on a wall, a shadow moving behind a screen, a drunk story long forgotten and, always, the wind, the wind in the trees. The Works and Days proposes a way of perceiving that dares to become a way of living (and the other way round). To my mind, that is the most any film can be expected to do." (Patrick Holzapfel /Jugend Ohne film)