Kaizo Hayashi Screens Short Film Works at KIFF4

2017/10/15 Report

The final afternoon of the 2017 edition of KIFF saw renowned director Kaizo Hayashi screen two short films that focus on the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Hayashi is a legendary director who ruled the Japanese film world in the 80s & 90s. He authored such hit flicks as Circus Boys, Jinpangu and the Maiku Hamma tongue-in-cheek detective series.

The KIFF presentation was made up of two short films in a trilogy (the third is yet to be completed) about the 20-kilometer exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. The first, Good Year, features mega-star Masatoshi Nagase as a lonely mechanic who refuses to give up his residence in the troubled area.

Dark and without much dialog, Good Year concentrates on the loneliness of the area. The mechanic’s solitude is broken when a woman, calling herself Abe Maria, in a fancy sports car, gets into an accident outside his shop. He must take her and her car in, and care for the woman. The seclusion is broken up momentarily but we understand she must move on while the mechanic is tied to the contaminated land.

The second piece, Life, focuses on the death of an old man who continued to live in the evacuation zone even after the government ordered everyone out. Again, it’s a quiet piece without much dialog. We are confronted with the desolate land and garbage-strewn house of the old man, exemplifying the hopelessness of life in the exclusion zone.

Kaizo Hayashi and actor Masami Horiuchi took the stage after the two pieces were screened. The film Life is defined by its desolate, bleak art design and Horiuchi noted, “The set was designed by art students, not professionals, but they did a fantastic job, capturing the atmosphere. The sets and props were very realistic.”

Director Hayashi was thrilled with the screening, noting, “More people came than I thought would!” In explaining the films he said, “I concentrated most on the visual look of the films. Fukushima is such a tragedy, I’ve experienced it, and I wanted to try and convey that visually.” On the casting he noted, “I saw Horiuchi-san on TV a lot when I was a kid so I was eager to cast him. And I’ve had a long and rich relationship with Masayoshi Nagase so I trust him. That’s why I wanted him for the role in Good Year.”

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