Sometimes Mr Murata thinks that it was just yesterday when he was 50 or 60. “And now I’m pushing 90,” he says.
Like many parts of rural Japan, the fishing village of Ushimado suffers from an ageing population. Every day, Mr Murata still takes his boat out on the inland sea that separates Honshu and Shikoku, two of Japan’s main islands. He sells his catch at the local market, with a large share going to Mrs Koso, who runs the local fish trade and tours the village daily in her delivery van. She knows her customers’ preferences and habits inside out and tells the filmmakers how long each of the empty houses has been abandoned.
Ushimado provides the ideal spot for the patient observations made in Kazuhiro Soda’s Minatomachi, which is shot in mesmerising black and white. This location isn’t just perfect because the film’s producer Kiyoko Kashiwagi’s family hails from the village, nor because Shohei Imamura shot two features here. It’s perfect because all that’s needed is to listen and follow the local people, who – like the elderly Mrs Komiyama – occasionally hijack the camera and tell heart-breaking stories no outsider has ever wanted to hear.
Japan / USA 2018
Documentary form122’ · Black/White
Born in Ashikaga, Tochigi, Japan in 1970. He earned a degree in Religious Studies, and in 1997, he completed a degree in Film Studies. Along with making films, Soda also writes non-fiction books and articles for film magazines.Filmography (selection)
1995 A Night in New York; 10 min. · A Flower and a Woman; 5 min. 1996 Freezing Sunlight; 85 min. 1997 The Flicker; 17 min. 2007 Senkyo (Campaign); 120 min., Forum 2007 2008 Seishin (Mental); 135 min., Forum 2009 2010 Peace; 75 min. 2012 Engeki 1 (Theatre 1); 172 min. · Engeki 2 (Theatre 2); 170 min. 2013 Senkyo 2 (Campaign 2); 149 min. 2015 Kaki Kouba (Oyster Factory); 145 min. 2018 The Big House; 119 min. · Minatomachi (Inland Sea)
Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018