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. (Synopsis from Berlin International Film Festival)
Film Festivals (selected): Berlin International Film Festival, Nippon Connection, Japannual
Available to stream on (subject to change): Darkmatter TV, Vudu, DocAlliance Films
[This film is NOT available to stream on SAKKA. We do not own the copyright, and this page is for informative purposes only.]