The Tale of Iya
祖谷物語 おくのひと 「Iya Monogatari – Oku no Hito」
Running Time: 169 mins.
Release Date: February 15th, 2014
Director: Tetsuchiro Tsuta
Writer: Tetsuchiro Tsuta, Masayuki Ueda (Screenplay),
Starring: Rina Takeda (Haruna), Min Tanaka (Grandpa), Shima Ohnishi (Kudo), Sachi Ishimaru (Kotomi), Hitoshi Murakami (Akira), Reika Miwa, Takahiro Ono, Naomi Kawase, Christopher Pellegrii, Keiko Taoka, Shigeru Kimura
The landscape of Japan is caught in all of its resplendent beauty during the four seasons in The Tale of Iya, a drama shot in a remote valley in Shikoku about life in the countryside. While a sense of nostalgia is movingly evoked over the course of the narrative it also remains clear-eyed about how tough such an environment can be and where its future may lie.
Our first view of this environment comes in a fairy tale-like opening in the middle of a blizzard one winter. A man (Min Tanaka) in traditional clothes that look like something out of a jidaigeki is hunting in the snowy forests around the valley of Tokushima Prefecture’s Iya valley. He adheres to the old ways and avoids the modern world but that intrudes into his life when he stumbles upon a crashed car and discovers a dead woman on the bonnet and, in what could only be described as a miracle, a baby girl lying unharmed on the frozen sparkling surface of a lake. The man takes her in and gives her the name Haruna. For the next 15 years, they live in harmony with nature in the mountains in a cottage without electricity or running water, surrounded by vegetable plots and verdant forests.