Ono Seiko and Aaron Gerow onogerow
Sun Oct 19 03:14:45 EDT 1997

I'll leave it up to other KineJapan members who were there to give their
impressions of this year's YIDFF, but I must say it was the best attended
YIDFF so far.  That was certainly something to be thrilled about for those

The centerpiece of the YIDFF is the International Competition.  This year
featured more Asian films than ever before, but Japanese entries _The
Weald_ (Kawase Naomi) and _3+1_ (Oki Hiroyuki) did not win anything.  The
grand prize went to Israel's _Fragments Jerusalem_ (Ron Havilio--a big
Japanese film fan and aikido practitioner, by the way).

The other big focus is New Asian Currents, featuring up-and-coming
documentarists from Asia.  This year's Japanese entrants were _A Burning
Star_ (Onishi Kenji), _A Port in Vain_ (Yamazaki Mikio), and _Memory of the
Soil_ (Shiozaki Toshiko).  Li Hong's _Out of Phoenix Bridge_ was given the
coveted Ogawa Shinsuke Prize, but Yamazaki did get a Special Mention for
his efforts.

The YIDFF always features a special event focusing on some topic.  This
year's "Imperial Japan at the Movies" centered on the uses of cinema in the
15 Years War in Asia and its aftermath.  Many films sponsored by Japan
during its occupation of areas of Asia were shown as part of the program.

As the last (maybe?) installment of the ongoing retrospective of Japanese
documentary history, this year focused on the 1980s and 90s.  Since many
young directors like Sekine Hiroyuki and Otsuki Natsuko, the turnout by
young fans was great.

For more on the YIDFF, you can check out the internet site at:


Some of the Dailly Bulletins (the YIDFF news bulletin put out during the
festival) are also on the net and include articles on the censorship issue
as well as interviews with directors, etc.


The YIDFF catalogs are also available for sale.  This year, beyond the main
catalog, there were subcatalogs printed for the Japanese documentaries and
the Imperial Japan at the Movies events.  Those interested can inquire at
the YIDFF Tokyo Office: yidff at bekkoame.or.jp

Aaron Gerow

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