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Naoshi is a hale old man of 79 from the Kesen district of Iwate Prefecture who has spent his whole life working as a woodcutter and carpenter. When the tsunami hit in March 2011, the wooden beams of his house didn’t even warp after water reached the second floor, although his son was washed away and drowned in the flood. Naoshi is determined to rebuild his house in the exact same spot, to live out his days in the place he was born and continue to honour his son’s memory. Yet this determination is challenged on several fronts: by his wife, who feels duty bound to stay with him, by the local authorities and their construction restrictions; and maybe even by his own body, given that his prostate cancer is only in remission. Kaoru Ikeya follows Naoshi’s rebuilding efforts for more than a year, exhibiting a perfect understanding of when to ask questions and when to remain silent. As the seasons pass, the debris is cleared, and roots reattach, this tender portrait of a quietly stubborn man opens out into a complex study of the many ambivalences the reconstruction process brings with it: a tangled web of family duty, traditional customs, community spirit and municipal legislation. (James Lattimer)

Production: Ren Universe, Inc., Tokyo
Camera: Masaharu Fukui
Format: HDCAM, colour
Running time: 118 min
Language: Japanese

Photo: © Hiroko Masuike

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur