In 1963, Japan was in the midst of its long period of high economic growth and Tokyo was busy revamping its urban infrastructure. When most were celebrating the economic expansion, Noriaki Tsuchimoto focused his analytical gaze on the life of one taxi driver. What he saw were miserable and unhealthy labor conditions, a Tokyo littered with traffic jams and construction work, a city where traffic accidents were multiplying and pedestrians unsafe. Coupling the tense visuals with impressive music, Tsuchimoto likens this supposedly new Tokyo to a skeletal wreck. Read More »
Noriaki Tsuchimoto – Minamata: Kanja-san to sono sekai AKA Minamata: The Victims and Their World (1971)
In the small town of Minamata in Kyushu, far from the metropolitan center, the fertilizer company Chisso built a factory to take advantage of cheap labor and commenced dumping mercury-filled wastewater into the nearby sea. Soon residents began exhibiting symptoms of a mysterious illness, a happening that would eventually develop into the worst case of environmental pollution in postwar Japan. Noriaki Tsuchimoto visits the patients and their families who sued Chisso and listens to their voices. His camera gently lifts the veil that had obscured them and reveals their reality. MINAMATA: THE VICTIMS AND THEIR WORLD is impressive in how it stands on the side of the patients, not only providing a collage of individual portraits, but also an understanding of the their everyday lives.
One of the monuments of Japanese documentary, MINAMATA: THE VICTIMS AND THEIR WORLD played at many international festivals, winning an award at Locarno. Read More »