The Burden of the Past 過去負う者 (2023) Dir: Atsushi Funahashi [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2023]

The Burden of the Past   The Burden of the Past Film Poster R

過去負う者 Kako ou mono

Release Date: 2023

Duration: 125 mins.

Director: Atsushi Funahashi

Writer: Atsushi Funahashi (Screenplay),

Starring: Taku Tsuji, June Kubodera, Kiriko Kina, Miyatani, Yoshio Taguchi, Saki Hirai,

With a recidivism rate of 50%, Japanese society has yet to hit upon a way to stop criminals reoffending and relies, instead, on punitive justice. Part of that punitive justice is the social ostracisation that occurs for those previously incarcerated. Getting jobs, finding accommodation, earning people’s trust, all is made harder with a criminal record.

Losing a criminal past is often the subject of films, from Kazuya Shiraishi’s One Night to Daihachi Yoshida’s The Scythian Lamb and Miwa Nishikawa’s Under the Open Sky. It is now the turn of dramatist/documentarian Atsushi Funahashi who shows the difficulties in rehabilitating former criminals with The Burden of the Past, a hard-hitting ensemble docudrama that draws upon the real-life work of CHANGE, a magazine/NPO that aims to help ex-prisoners reintegrate with society.

Written, edited, and directed by Atsushi Funahashi, this two-hour film asks us to witness the work of the staff at CHANGE and the struggle of some of their charges as they battle against the prejudice that others show when asked to live alongside people who have committed crimes.

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