Monday, July 23, 2018 at 7pm
Ogawa Shinsuke's Magino Village: A Tale

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

Introduced by Hara Kazuo

Magino Village: A Tale, Ogawa Shinsuke, 1986, 16mm, 222 mins

Hara Kazuo, director of such legendary documentaries as Extreme Private Eros and The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On, returns to Light Industry to present a rare screening of one of the most important nonfiction films in the history of Japanese cinema: Ogawa Shinsuke’s Magino Village: A Tale.

A pioneering figure of postwar documentary in Japan, Ogawa made his first independent productions in the 1960s as part of the era's leftist student movements. In contrast to the genre's typical ideals of detached objectivity, Ogawa developed a practice based on collaborative processes and an extended engagement with his subjects to the point of assimilation into their communities. After a series of films made during the occupation of the future site of the Narita International Airport—represented most famously in the epic struggles of Narita: The Peasants of the Second Fortress—Ogawa Productions moved its operation to Magino, a rural village in Yamagata Prefecture. There, Ogawa and his collective opened new offices in an old silkworm barn, then transformed themselves into farmers, learning rice cultivation and documenting the region's agrarian experience in intimate detail.

This decade-long residency would culminate in one of Ogawa’s final works, the monumental Magino Village: A Tale / The Sundial Carved with a Thousand Years of Notches. It contains, according to film historian Abé Mark Nornes, “all the themes Ogawa explored throughout his oeuvre: farming, state violence, resistance, modernization and village time. The film masterfully combines the conventions of the science film with Griersonian documentary sequences about ghosts and gods, along with fictional sequences featuring cameos by the likes of Butoh founder Tatsumi Hijikata in his last performance and ‘pink film’ star Junko Miyashita. It is a thoughtful meditation on history and the way it is never quite ‘past’ in village Japan.”

After finishing the film, Ogawa designed an ephemeral cinema for its exhibition made from grass, wood, and mud, which was realized at an empty construction site in Kyoto. He named it The Theater of a Thousand Years.

Tickets - $8, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 6:30pm.

Presented with the support of Japan Society, the Japan Foundation, and the Athénée Français Cultural Center, Tokyo. Special thanks to Japan Society senior film programmer Kazu Watanabe. Hara's latest film will screen as part of Japan Cuts on Sunday, July 22.