- Personal Doc, Human Interest, and Arts
Shaken by the tsunami and nuclear disasters, a grown daughter returns to her rural Japanese artist community to reconnect with her estranged parents and hometown. Meditative moments at the pottery wheel punctuated by tense family conversations, sudden earthquakes and radiation level readings, â€œKasamayakiâ€ exposes the fragility of life and the imperfect nature of human relationships.
- Show treatment
Nearly two decades had passed since Yukiâ€™s parents returned to Japan, leaving her in a small apartment in the East Village at the age of sixteen. With no other family in the U.S., Yuki was left to her own devices. Since then, a wall of resentment had slowly crept up between them, reinforcing their geographical distance. On the morning of March 11, 2011, Yuki awoke up to the horrifying images of the earthquake and tsunami disasters, and for the first time, felt sharp pangs of longing for home - to be with her family and the people of her hometown. But the reunion with her estranged parents, and return to a community still reeling from the nuclear disasters, would be bittersweet.
We inherently trust the ground we walk on to hold us in place, much as children rely on the support of their parents to navigate through life - what happens when the very thing that supports us shakes so violently that we are thrown to the ground?
That summer, Yuki arrives in Kasama, a rural artistsâ€™ community just ninety miles south of the Fukushima nuclear reactors. Yuki observes her elderly parents through the camera, as they make pottery, plant a garden, and measure radiation levels around their house, which continues to be rocked by aftershocks. Trying to piece together why her family fell apart, Yuki asks pointed questions about her parentsâ€™ decisions to leave her behind. These inquiries sometimes result in understanding; while at other times prove explosive, as they reveal wounds that have yet to heal.
Using their art as metaphors, Yukiâ€™s parents have a renewed chance to instill their daughter with lessons on how to overcome hardships in life. Like their pottery, life is beautiful, fragile, and unpredictable. While unloading ceramics from the kiln, Katsuji reflects, â€œYou never know how it will turn out. There are a lot of surprises, a lot of failures too.â€ While shaping a life-like ceramic cat figurine, Shigeko explains, â€œPeople who make things pull themselves up by creating. You can renew yourself through creating.â€ In her way, Shigeko encourages her daughter to use the film to overcome the familyâ€™s painful past.
Shot in an observational style, â€œKasamayakiâ€ moves at an unhurried pace, matching the slow tempo of its rural setting. Drawing subtle parallels between the disasters, pottery, and tragic family history, â€œKasamayakiâ€ explores the fragility of life, and the imperfect nature of human relationships that sometimes hurt, but ultimately sustain us.
- in post-production
- Running time
- 93 minutes
- Yuki Kokubo ... Director, Producer, Cinematographer & Editor
- Jesse Peterson ... Composer
- United States
- Years of Production
- Kasama, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
- Release year
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