I hope you are well.
This is the second in a two-part trailer post (the first part can be found here). No other posts this week. I will try to resume writing soon. I did record a Heroic Purgatory podcast dedicated to Cowboy Bebop which was a lot of fun and lifted my spirits. I will let you know when it gets published.
What else was released this weekend?
水俣曼荼羅 「Minamata Mandara」
Release Date: November 27th, 2021
Duration: 372 mins.
Director: Kazuo Hara
Kazuo Hara (The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On) follows up his last documentary, Reiwa Uprising (2019) with this look at the people affected by Minamata disease. The origins of this story were turned into a film starring Johnny Depp that was released at Berlinale last year and in Japan earlier this year. No news on a Western release as the studio is sitting on it. I covered a host of Kazuo Hara and Sachiko Kobayashi (his wife and producer) films earlier this year.
Synopsis: In 1932, life for the people of Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, would change when a chemical company named Chisso began producing acetaldehyde and dumping methyl mercury in Minamata Bay. By 1956, cases of severe mercury poisoning were occurring amongst people since the locals would eat the sealife in the bay. The prefectural government and Chisso corporation did little to help the community who continue to be affected by the pollution in the bay and the people left with neurological problems stemming from Minamata Disease. Documentarian Kazuo Hara shows the lingering pain by following some of the people affected including an old man in his 90s who has battled in court for more than 20 years, a medical school professor striving to identify the cause of the disease, and a fisherman providing disease samples for medical examinations. It is split into three parts and shows different stages of this fight.
幕が下りたら会いましょう 「Maku ga Oritara Aimashou」
Release Date: November 26th, 2021
Duration: 94 mins.
Director: Seira Maeda,
Writer: Seira Maeda,
Starring: Reina Matsui, Miwako Kakei, Nanami Hidaka, Harumi Syuhama, Manami Enosawa,
Synopsis: Manami (Reina Matsui) runs an unsuccessful theatre company while helping out at her parents’ beauty parlour. While celebrating the wedding of a member of the troupe, she receives news that her younger sister, who lives in Tokyo, has passed away. On the day that she died, she had called Manami who did not answer. This action has shaken Manami to the core.
Release Date: June 17th, 1989
Duration: 93 mins.
Director: Wim Wenders
Writer: Wim Wenders (Script),
Starring: Chishu Ryu, Werner Herzog, Yuhara Atsuta, Chris Marker,
There is an on-going season of films dedicated to Wim Wenders. These films are remasters.
Synopsis: Tokyo-Ga is a documentary diary done by Wim Wenders about his search for the Tokyo that Yasujiro Ozu captured in his film. He shot it in April 1983 when he was attending a German Film Festival in Tokyo. As he wandered around the city, he recorded the “Japanese” scenery of the time and the modernization that was going on. He also talked to Ozu collaborators.
私は白鳥 「Watashi wa Hakucho」
Release Date: November 27th, 2021
Duration: 104 mins.
Director: Shigehiro Makiya
Starring: Hirokazu Sawae, Yuki Amami (Narration),
Synopsis: This documentary is an expansion of a TV show that tracked the interaction between a swan in Toyama that is injured due to a broken wing and cannot fly back to the north and a man named Koichi Sawae who cares for the swan as if he were projecting himself onto it. The film captures the harsh environment of the natural world of the weak and the strong, and the morality of intervening in nature through Sawae’s efforts.