Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2015 – Perspectives Japan and Latinoamérica

This year Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival is kicking off today Oct 8th in the Japnese city, and promises an intense and full week of non-fiction cinema and all its forms, a must for everyone interested in documentary. 
This is the second post I dedicated to this year event and its line-up. While in the first one I wrote about Competition and New Asian Currents (you can read it here), today I’d like to take a look at Perspectives Japan, a selection of new Japanese docs, and Latinoamérica—The Time and the People: Memories, Passion, Work and Life, a retrospective on the so called Third Cinema (Tercer Cine) and its resonances with the contemporary non-fiction production in Latin America.

Perspective Japan, as stated on the official page, will introduce “Five dynamic films that defy convention (…) in a display of the powerful contemplation and fresh vibrancy being explored in Japanese documentary filmmaking.” 
Of the 5, the only one I had the chance to see is THE COCKPIT, a relatively short documentary (just a bit more than an hour) about a group of hip-hop musicians working on a new song. A static and almost hypnotic work, especially in its first part where the camera in a fixed position is showing us the rapper OMSB at work on his mixing console chatting to his mates. The Cockpit is a nice piece of non-fiction cinema, minimalistic in its approach, but interesting and watchable not only for wannabe-musicians. Okinawa: The Afterburn, directed by John Junkerman – an American who has lived in Japan for almost 40 years (and for a certain period in Okinawa itself) – is a deep look at the recent history of the islands, always a crucial geopolitical space to understand Japan and its tensions and relationship with the outside.  Completing the line-up for Perspective Japan: PYRAMID: Kaleidoscope Memories of Destruction (Sasakubo Shin), Under the Cherry Tree (Tanaka Kei) and Voyage (Ikeda Sho). 

As for the Latinoamérica section, it’s going to be an incredible journey at the heart of what was happening – social and political changes, resistance, upheavals, revolutions, massacres -during the 60s and 70s in Central and South America. Milestones of word documentary such as Patricio Guzmán‘s The Battle of Chile 1,2 and 3 will be screened alongside works of Luis Ospina and a mini-retrospective of short chilean documentaries, including films from Raúl Ruiz (The Suitcase, 1963) and Joris Ivens (. . . A Valparaiso, 1963, with commentary written by Chris Marker), almost 30 works in total, a visual feast not to be missed. 

As written before, I’ll be there for 3 days (Oct 10th to 12th), if time permits, I’ll be posting, or more likely twitting, about it.  Stay tuned. 


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