Kinema Junpo Best Japanese Documentaries of 2018

A couple of weeks ago the film magazine Kinema Junpo announced its 2018 Best Ten Lists. Launched in 1924 with only non-Japanese films, and from 1926 including Japanese movies as well, the poll includes, in its present form, four categories: Japanese movies, non-Japanese movies, bunka eiga and a section awarding individual prizes such as best director, best actor, best actress, best screenplay, etc.
You can check the results for all the categories here.

The best 10 Japanese bunka eiga — a term that, more or less, could be translated into culture movies, in orher words documentary — according to the magazine are:

1 Boy Soldiers: The Secret War in Okinawa  沖縄スパイ戦史 (Chie Mikami, Hanayo Oya)

2 Sennan Asbestos Disaster ニッポン国VS泉南石綿村 (Kazuo Hara)

3 ぼけますから、よろしくお願いします (Naoko Nobutomo)

4 奇跡の子どもたち (Hidetaka Inazuka)

5 Gokutomo 獄友 (Sung Woong Kim)

6 武蔵野 江戸の循環農業が息づく (Masaki Haramura)

7 春画と日本人(Ōgaki Atsushi)

8 蒔絵 中野孝一のわざ

9 夜明け前 呉秀三と無名の精神障害者の100年 (Tomoki Imai)

10 まだ見ぬまちへ〜石巻 小さなコミュニティの物語 (Kenji Aoike)

Not all of them have an official English title, since most were not, and probably will not be, released internationally.

I haven’t seen all of them, but the list seems to reflect certain general and for me disappointing aspects of contemporary documentary in Japan, or at least, a certain way of doing and conceptualizing documentary in the archipelago. Documentary seems to be viewed more as a vehicle to present a certain subject or a certain theme to the viewers and less as a form of visual expression. In other words, no much effort and time is spent on how to stylistically construct the film, and I think part of the “problem”, at least regarding the list in question, is connected to the meaning of term bunka eiga and thus to the by-the-fault approach from the magazine that seems to prioritize the subject matter over cinematic style.
The list is also a reflection of what is happening at the moment in the Japanese documentary scene. I haven’t watched every single non-fiction movie made in the archipelago in recent years, but I see a good number of Japanese documentaries every year, and not only there are almost no trace of documentaries that successfully blur the boundaries between non-fiction, avant-garde and fiction — with few glorious exceptions of course — but there’s hardly space even for works that try to present and tackle themes in different ways.

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With that out of the way, I can now move to the positive notes. It was nice to see at the first two places Boy Soldiers: The Secret War in Okinawa and Sennan Asbestos Disaster. The former is the third “installment” of the ongoing exploration, by journalist and documentarist Chie Mikami, of the resistance and fight of the Okinwan people against the American “occupation” of the islands. This time Mikami’s movie (co-directed with Hanayo Oya) focuses more on the past, documenting with old photos, footage and interviews, how in the closing stages of the Battle of Okinawa, a unit called “Gokyotai” was used to wage guerrilla behind enemy lines.
Sennan Asbestos Disaster is the latest work by Hara Kazuo (Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974, The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On), about former workers and the relatives of workers at asbestos factories in Osaka’s Sennan district. Hara with his camera follows their legal battle against the Japanese government while seeking compensation for the damage done to their health by asbestos. I had the chance to see the movie in Yamagata in 2017, with four of the victims sitting and chatting in the row in front of me, a very impactful viewing experience that I still treasure.

A final point worth noting is that many of the documentaries in the list are about, to different degrees, the third age. In Sennan Asbestos Disaster the victims are almost all over 60, and so are the five men wrongly convicted in Gokutomo, and the couple depicted in Bokemasukara, yoroshiku onegaishimasu (ぼけますから、よろしくお願いします), a movie about senile dementia,  is well over 90. The disease is also the central theme explored in the triptych of documentaries Everyday is Alzheimer (毎日がアルツハイマー 2012-2018) by Yuka Sekiguchi, the third and latest was released last year, an underrated series in my opinion. I am not discovering anything new, but this heavy focus on the elderly is another signal of the increasingly aging population In Japan, a demographic shift that is shaping, and in fact has already started to shape, the country in several ways, not least its film and visual production.

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Best documentaries of 2018

2018 has been an intense and fruitful year for documentary, especially on the margins, between works released theatrically, those made available directly on streaming platforms, and those screened almost exclusively at festivals, the offer has become as diversified as ever. As usual on this blog I have tried to direct my attention to some of the most significant works of nonfiction produced in East and Southeast Asia, and in doing so (time is limited I’m afraid) I have neglected many others made in other parts of the world, and living in Japan also didn’t help. For instance I was not able to see Dead Souls by Wang Bing, a movie I’m looking forward to seeing.
If last year my main focus was Taiwan and its dynamic contemporary documentary scene, a research that culminated with this essay I wrote for Cinergie in July, 2018 was more varied. The screening of NDU‘s To the Japs: South Korean A-Bomb Survivors Speak Out (1971) at the Kobe Planet Film Archive, part of my ongoing exploration of the works of the collective, was one of the highlights of the year, unfortunately I didn’t have the time to write about it, but hopefully I will be able to scribble down something next year.
It goes without saying that the list below is a reflection of my taste, interests and viewing habits, and thus it is mainly composed of documentaries made in the Asian continent (but there are few exceptions of course), and works that push the boundaries of what is usually considered nonfiction cinema.

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Outstanding works

Toward a Common Tenderness (Oda Kaori, 2017)
After Aragane, Oda confirms herself as one of the most original voices in contemporary nonfiction with another excellent work, this time mixing the diaristic and the poetic. Mesmerizing, as usual, the sound design.

Miasma, Plants, Export Paintings (Wang Bo, Pan Lu, 2018)
I discovered the movie a month or so ago, but it was a revelation: history, art, geography and colonialism mixed in an aesthetically challenging piece of work.

A Room with a Coconut View (Tulapop Saenjaroen, 2018)
The most overtly experimental work in this list, not for everyone taste for sure, but I found it refreshingly good.

Inland Sea (Soda Kazuhiro, 2018)
Probably my favorite by Soda, one that resonates more with me and my experience of living in Japan. You can read more here.

Everyday Is Alzheimer’s the Final: Death Becomes Us (Sekiguchi Yuka, 2018)
A really important documentary, not stylistically daring, nonetheless a film that delivers a strong punch in the stomach of the viewer with its matter-of-factness exposure of the disintegration of memory, aging and death.

MATA-The Island’s Gaze (Cheng Li-Ming, 2017)
An elliptical work that focuses its attention on the gaze of Scottish photographer John Thomson, who visited Taiwan in 1871 , and on his relationship with some members of the Siraya tribe – one of the several that inhabited Taiwan before the arrival of the Dutch and the Han. (here more)

The Hymns of Muscovy (Dimitri Venkov, 2017)
“…the sky itself appeared to me like an abyss, something which I had never felt before ー the vertigo above and the vertigo below” Goerge Bataille

Slow Motion, Stop Motion (Kurihara Mie, 2018)
A poetic and witty personal film, documenting the filmmaker’s wanderings and meetings in Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. I’ve written more here.

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Special (re)discoveries:

What Do You Think About the War Responsibility of Emperor Hirohito (Tsuchiya Yutaka, 1997)
A video experiment and an important time capsule inside a time capsule: the Pacific War and the emperor’s responsibility as perceived by certain strata of the Japanese population during the 1990s.

Jakub (Jana Ševčicová, 1992)
A film of faces, the ancient faces of the Ruthenians people, “painted” in a black and white so dense, grainy and gritty that is almost painful to watch.

Cambodia Lost Rock & Roll (John Pirozzi, 2014)
Incredibly sad, but at the same time incredibly fun to watch and listen to.

 

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Best cinematic experience

Heliography
By far the best viewing experience I had in 2018. You can read my excitement here.

 

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Honorable mentions:

78/52 (Alexandre O. Philippe, 2017)
A guilty pleasure.

Matangi/ Maya/ M.I.A. (Stephen Loveridge, 2018)
I did not like many things in the movie, but the last 30-40 minutes offer an interesting take on complex topics such as being an artist in the contemporary world, fame, social awareness, and immigration and art.

A Man Who Became Cinema
A documentary about Hara Masato and his struggles to keep making movies, one day I need to write something on Hara, a fascinating and “cinematic” figure.

Anthropology and cinema: The Song of Akamata (Kitamura Minao, 1973)

I’m reposting something I wrote almost 4 years ago about Kitamura Minao and visual anthropology in Japan

Visual anthropology, ethnographic cinema, visual folklore and ethnographic film are all definitions floating around the same concept, a point of intersection between cinema, film or the visual arts on the one side and ethnology, anthropology or ethnographic field work on the other. Although all these definitions don’t exactly signify the same thing, I personally like the term “visual anthropology” the best, for no special reason.

I came to be interested in visual anthropology through the works of Jean Rouch, author and co-author of some of the most outstanding works in the history of documentary (Chronicle of a Summer, Moi, un noir, etc.) who was also a very well respected anthropologist who spend most of his life working in the African continent. Driven by this interest a couple of years ago I started to look for something or someone similar in Japan, and by pure chance one morning at Nagoya Cinemaskhole, I came across and discovered the works of Kitamura Minao.
Kitamura is one of the most respected visual anthropologist (I don’t know if he’d agree to be called so) working today in Japan, the founder of Visual Folkrore Inc. and, besides his works for TV (mainly for NHK), he’s also the author of some very compelling and inspiring theatrical documentaries. For instance, Kitamura is the director of one of my favourite films of 2012, Hokaibito: Ina no Seigetsu about the life of Inoue Seigetsu, a poet and wanderer who lived the last part of his life (he died in 1887) shifting through the land of Ina, now located in Nagano prefecture, between the Edo and Meiji period, a time of dramatic changes that transformed and shaped Japan as a modern nation.
seigetsu_no_ina
Hokaibito: Ina no Seigetsu is a very unique documentary constructed by merging poems, written by Seigetsu himself and visualized on screen by nice handwritten strokes, with reconstructions of the life of the poet, played here by the legendary dancer Tanaka Min.
I haven’t seen so many of Kitamura’s works, especially those comissioned by museums or NHK, but a couple of years ago at the Kobe Planet Film Archive I had the chance to see two of his works made around 30 years ago: The Horse of Kaberu (1969) and The Song Of Akamata:
Life Histories of the Islanders of Iriomote Okinawa
(1971).
The former in particular impressed me for its compelling topic: the failed attempt to film a sacred festival in Komi (filming the rituals in the remote island remains a taboo) that nonetheless turned out into a meaningful portrait of the people living or returning to the small land, and a revealing study of their deep relationship with traditions and religion practices of the island.
What follows is an introduction to the movie by Kitamura himself, given on the occasion of a symposium, “Expanding the horizon of Area Studies through film presentation The New Generation of Anthropological Cinema” held in Kyoto in 2006:

akamata

THE SONG OF AKAMATA:
LIFE HISTORIES OF THE ISLANDERS, IRIOMOTE, OKINAWA

KITAMURA Minao

There are two sacred festivals in the Okinawan Islands that, although they continue today, have not yet been filmed or documented: Uyagan-Sai of Ogami Island, Miyako; and Akamata of the Yaeyama Islands, which I attempted, on one notable occasion, to film with an Arriflex camera. The result is this rather peculiar work that did not actually achieve its main objective.
Once a year, during June of the lunar calendar, wearing a wild red wooden mask and covered in leaves and vines, Akamata appears from the sacred cave known as Nabindo. He visits the village founder’s house in Komi to bless the villagers and promise a good harvest for the coming season.
In July of 1972, I arrived at Komi with my filming crew, having traveled by Sabani, a kind of small fishing boat. Although 73 families had occupied the village in 1960, only 17 families remained. Most of the young people had left for Tokyo or Kawasaki, and each year an additional few families had also emigrated to Ishigaki Island or Naha. With such a small village population, I was doubtful that Akamata would be held.
At midnight of the first day of the festival, I was called outside, where I was surrounded by several young men with sickles. They returned to me a bottle of sake I had presented them with in honor of the festival, and then threatened me, shouting, “We never gonna let you shoot Akamata. Never! If you do, you’ll be found murdered.” Their parting shot, “If we ever allow your filming, it’s the end of the village,” made me even more curious about why Akamata made them so excited and energetic. What magnetic force made people come back to the island to join Akamata?
Due to these developments, instead of filming Akamata, I decided to document the life histories of the villagers and the ways of life of the people who had emigrated from Komi. I rallied my frightened crew and began a daytime visit to a family by asking them to let us take a souvenir photo. They liked our request, even though the camera was my 16mm Arriflex. We also voluntarily joined in the work of the village community, drank together, and sang together, with the camera and recorder turned on.
Before completing souvenir photos of all 17 families, I began to understand the fairly complicated relationships among the villagers. For instance, there were conflicts between native and newly introduced religions. After the photos had all been taken, we visited ex-islanders live in Ishigaki and Naha in order to ask why they had left their native island. I found that these ex-islanders living in the cities maintained the same values they had cherished in their native village. It seems that Akamata still lives in their minds.
The sacred masked Akamata, covered by leaves and vines, does not appear at all in “The Song of Akamata.” Nonetheless, this film succeeded in documenting and unmasking the real lives of the islanders.
Duration: 82 mins, Medium: DV, Year: 1973, 2006 (revised), Production: Yugyoki Location: Komi, Iriomote, Okinawa, Japan

Here the original

2017: Kinema Junpo Best 10 – documentary

Awaited every year with trepidation by cinephiles and the community of Japanese film-lovers, and a perfect occasion for discussing the state of the art in the archipelago and agree or disagree with it, last month the prestigious film magazine Kinema Junpo announced its 2017 Best Ten Lists . Launched in 1924 with only non-Japanese films, and from 1926 including Japanese movies as well, the poll includes, in its present form, four categories: Japanese movies, non-Japanese movies, bunka eiga and a section awarding individual prizes such as best director, best actor, best actress, best screenplay, etc.
You can check the results for all the categories here. Given the nature of this space, I want to focus my attention (with the slowness that characterizes this blog, apologies) on the bunka eiga list, that is to say, the best 10 Japanese documentaries released in 2017 according to Kinema Junpo (as far as I know only three have been released outside of Japan and thus have international titles):

1 人生フルーツ Life is Fruity

2 標的の島 風(かじ)かたか The Targeted Island: A Shield Against Storms

3 やさしくなあに 奈緒ちゃんと家族の35年

4 ウォーナーの謎のリスト

5 谺雄二 ハンセン病とともに生きる

6 沈黙 立ち上がる慰安婦 The Silence

7 米軍が最も恐れた男 その名は、カメジロー

8 笑う101歳×2 笹本恒子 むのたけじ

9 まなぶ 通信制中学 60年の空白を越えて

10 廻り神楽

With the term bunka eiga (cultural film), for a comprehensive analysis of the word and its usage in relation with other definitions, read here, the magazine awards non-fiction movies that explore social, cultural and political themes, often focusing more on the subjects tackled than on the formal aspects of the films themselves.
It is almost a fact that we’re living in a new golden age for documentaries, an era when every year, in theaters or on streaming platforms alike, there’s at least one film that push the boundaries of non-fiction cinema towards new territories. Unfortunately Japan, with all the exceptions of the case, seems to have stayed or have left behind. This is not the right place to discuss and deep dive into the reasons for this impasse, suffice to say that it is a problem affecting Japanese cinema in general and not only nonfiction movies.

That being said, it is nice to see at the top of the list Life is Fruity, a movie directed by Fushihara Kenshi and produced by Tokai TV, a production company based in Nagoya that in the last twenty years or so has been releasing a bunch of interesting and insightful documentaries. Again, all of them have quasi-TV aesthetics, nonetheless the topics explored and, in the best cases, the touch used, make them worth watching. Of the 21 documentaries produced by Tokai TV I’ve had the chance to watch five, among these my favorite is 青空どろぼう (Sky’s Thieves, 2010), a movie on the Yokkaichi Asthma, one of Japan’s four major diseases caused by pollution.
Life is Fruity tells the story of 90-years-old architect Shuichi Tsubata and his wife Hideko living in Aichi prefecture in a house surrounded by vegetables and fruits. Almost half a century ago Tsubata was asked to plan a new town in the area, but his idea of building houses that could coexist with woods and blend with the natural environment was rejected, and a project more in tune with the fast growing Japanese economy of the time was chosen. Tsubata left his job, purchased a piece of land and built his dream-house in a manner of his master,  Czech-American architect Antonin Raymond.

You can see an English subtitled trailer by clicking on the Vimeo button:

Number two in the list is A targeted Village, the second documentary directed by Mikami Chie about the ongoing protests and resistance of Okinawa people against the American military presence and expansion in the island.
In 1983 director Ise Shinichi started to record the daily life of his 8-year-old niece Nao, a girl with intellectual disability who also suffers epilepsy, and her interaction with her family and society. After 12 years of shooting he edited the material into Nao-chan, a movie released in theaters in 1995, followed by 「ぴぐれっと」in 2002 and ありがとう 『奈緒ちゃん』自立への25 in 2006. やさしくなあに 奈緒ちゃんと家族の35年, number 3 in the Kinema Junpo list, is the fourth installment in this ongoing series and documents the ups and downs in the daily life of Nao and his family. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it seems to perfectly continue the tradition of Japanese documentaries dealing with disability, from Tsuchimoto Noriaki to Yanagisawa Hisao (a retrospective of his works is happening now in Tokyo) and, in more recent years, Soda Kazuhiro with Mental.

Nao_chan.jpg

ウォーナーの謎のリスト is a documentary about American archeologist Langdon Warner and his list of culturally valuable Japanese sites that, allegedly, saved the most important temples and monuments from destruction during the American bombing of Japan in World War II. 谺雄二 ハンセン病とともに生きる tells the story of poet, activist and writer Kodama Yōji, who suffered from leprosy and fought against isolation and discrimination during his entire life, while with The Silence, second generation Japanese-Korean Park Soonam, records the struggle carried on by the victims of sexual slavery during the invasion of Korea by imperial Japan. In 米軍が最も恐れた男 その名は、カメジロー, his debut behind the camera, newscaster Sako Tadahiko explores the life of Senaga Kamejirō, an outspoken politician and communist who fought the American occupation of Okinawa until his death in 2001.
The list does not represent Japanese documentary landscape in its variety and complexity of course, by design the more experimental works are ruled out, nonetheless besides few titles, the films here selected don’t seem to hold any particular appeal to an international audience, again at the risk of becoming trite, it’s not because of the themes explored, but more because of what to me appears to be the lack of a distinctive style and vision.

Le Moulin (Huang Ya-Li, 2016) out on Blu-ray and DVD

Just a quick post to share my excitement for a new home video release. I found out only a few days ago that from last June Le Moulin, one of the best documentaries I’ve seen in recent years, is available for on DVD and Blu-ray. The movie, directed by Huang Ya-Li, is a complex and fascinating exploration of the first Taiwan’s modern poetry group, Le Moulin Poetry Society, active in the island during the 1930s, when Taiwan was under Japanese colonial rule. You can read my piece on the movie here.

Le Moulin was made available in Taiwan by Fisfisa Media, but it comes with English, Traditional Chinese and Japanese subtitles, for more details on the technical aspects of the DVD and Blu-ray, please check the YesAsia page, where you can also order the movie.

I haven’t had the chance to check the DVD/Blu-ray yet, but it is nice to see that it also comes with a booklet of essays written by relatives of the Le Moulin poets and literary figures.

I will update this post once I get the release.

Best documentaries of 2017

Although I saw fewer documentaries released in 2017 than I wanted, this was for me the year of the box-set (Wiseman, Rouch, etc.), there were a couple that really impacted and resonated with me for long time, and others that, for various reasons, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed discovering.
It might sound tautological, but it is always better to clarify: this is the list of my favourite non-fiction movies, thus it reflects my taste in documentary and it’s very partial.

Outstanding works:

Also Know as Jihadi (Eric Baudelaire)
An homage to and partially a remake of Adachi Masao’s A.K.A. Serial Killer. Baudelaire’s finest work to date.

Letter #69 (Lin Hsin-i)
My fascination with the works of this young Taiwanese artist continues. read more

Machines (Rahul Jain)
You can read my review here

Rubber Costed Steel (Lawrence Abu Hamdan)
Short but powerful, thematically and aesthetically.

Honorable mentions:

Sennan Asbestos Disaster (Hara Kazuo)
Hara is back after more than 10 years with a work about the legal battle between the Citizen Group for Sennan Asbestos Damage and the Japanese government.

Ex-Libris: New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman)
Not my favourite by the American legendary director, but Wiseman is Wiseman.

Donkeyote (Chico Pereira)

A Yangtze Landscape (Xu Xin)

Dislocation Blues (Sky Hopinka)

Turtle Rock (Xiao Xiao)
A soothing and beautifully shot documentary set in a remote village in China, the black and white photography reminded me of Lav Diaz.

Special (re)discoveries:

The Mad Masters (Jean Rouch, 1955)
Whatever it is, docufiction, ethnofiction, problematic documentary or theatrical exploitation, it’s a powerful and raw punch. Masterpiece.

Homeland: Iraq Year Zero (Abbas Fahdel, 2015)
Probably the best documentary I’ve seen in 2017.

A House in Ninh Hoa (Nguyễn Phương-Đan &. Philip Widmann, 2016)
You can read my review and interview with the director here.

Beirut Never More (Jocelyne Saab, 1976)
Jocelyne Saab was one of my cinematic discoveries of the year.

My favourite documentaries of 2016

2016 has been a busy year and unfortunately, and for various reasons (one of them being the place where I live, Japan), I haven’t had the chance to see as many new documentaries as I wanted to. On the other hand though, having had access to many documentaries produced in Taiwan through Taiwan Docs, for a couple of months I binge-watched the non-fiction movies produced in the island in 2016 (and 2015), and it was a revelation. Not only it allowed me to discover and explore the complex sociopolitical situation of the area and its recent history, but luckily I also stumbled upon a couple of formally challenging films.

That being said, I can’t really miss what recently has become a sort of yearly custom, so here is my list of the best documentaries I’ve seen in 2016, some of them are from 2015, but released internationally, or at least in Japan, only this year. At the end I’ve also compiled a short list of the best (re)discoveries of 2016. (disclaimer: best should here be understood as “favourite” of course)

8. Quemoy (Chiu Yu-nan)

quemoy_doc

“Quemoy, the islands adjacent to Mainland, used to be the frontier between Taiwan and China. However, it opens its border for the cross-strait exchanges. The film shows traces of Quemoy people in different generations and builds up a picture of complicated national identity in the boundary island.”
A relatively short movie (just 45′) whose main appealing point is its depiction of the complex geopolitical situation of the area.

7. Into the Inferno  (Werner Herzog)
6. Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (Werner Herzog)

“This boiling mass is just monumentally indifferent to scurrying roaches, retarded reptiles and vapid humans alike.”
Both movies are pure Herzog, for better or for worse, I personally adore the man, but the risk the great German director is running in his recent documentaries – especially now in an era when the social media is so pervasive and his persona in the mediascape is sort of overexposed – is that of becoming prisoner of the image forged in almost 50 years of incredible career.
Be that as it may, if you like Herzog, these two documentaries released in 2016 are very enjoyable, Lo and Behold is a better work in my opinion, or at least more appealing to me, and not necessarily for its subject, more for its rhythm and editing. Into the Inferno in some points wanders a bit too much, the segment set in North Korea for instance, albeit fascinating for the unique insights on the country, felt too much like a long digression.

5. Further Beyond

An interesting experiment in meta-documentary and a non banal reflection of what identity and its construction through images and storytelling is. The movie is maybe a bit excessive in its meandering here and there, but 
some passages are pure digital beauty.

4. A Room of Her Own: Rei Naito and Light (Yuko Nakamura)

a_room_of_her_own_rei_naito

Graced by outstanding sound design and soundtrack, the movie captures and beautifully embodies the sense of fragility and ephemerality of life seen through the art of Naito Rei. But A Room of her Own is interesting on many other different levels, partly experiment in non-fiction, partly personal documentary – what brought Nakamura to approach Naito was the severe illness of her mother – and partly a work that explores the intangibility of life, the movie is a very refreshing work of non-fiction, especially when considered in the context of Japanese contemporary documentary. I wish the last part, when four women are gathered on Teshima island, would have been longer. 
One last note on the photography, in tone with the themes explored by the movie, is really one of the most accomplished aspects of it.

3. 15 Corners of the World (Zuzanna Solakiewicz)

15_corners_of_the_world

I cheated, I know it’s a movie from 2014, but I watched it this year and it made a big impression on me, so I decided to include it in my list anyway.
15 Corners of the World is a mesmerizing and hypnotic documentary about the Polish electronic-music pioneer Eugeniusz Rudnik and, more importantly, about the visualisazion of sound and its materiality. An incredible visual and auditory experience.

2. Forgetting Vietnam

forgetting_vietnam

The latest visual work from Trinh Minh-ha, I’ve written more about the movie here.

1. 3 Island (Lin Hsin-i)

img_2531

A work that creates a complex and experimental mapping of three distinct geographical Asian areas, interweaving poetry, abstract imagining, historical data and archival footage. If you want, you can read more here.

 

(re)discoveries (in no particular order)

 

Asia is One (NDU), read more here.

On the Road: A Document (Tsuchimoto Noriaki, 1964), read more here.

Hospital ( Frederick Wiseman, 1970)

Broadway by Light (William Klein, 19589

The Festival Pan-African of Algiers (William Klein, 1969)