Punto de Vista 2022 Winners
|OUT OF COMPETITION|
Projection format: DCP
Direction: Kazuo Hara
Cinematographer: Kazuo Hara, Noa Nagaoka
Editor: Takeshi Hata
Sound: Takeshi Ogawa
Music: T 80 Chochek, D.K. Heroes
Production: Koji Namikoshi, Sachiko Kobayashi, Kazuo Hara, Noa Nagaoka, Chihiro Shimano
Selected filmography: Minamata Mandala (2020), Reiwa Uprising (2019), Sennan Asbestos Disaster (2017), The Many Faces of Chika (2005), A Dedicated Life (1994), The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1987), EXTREME PRIVATE EROS: LOVE SONG 1974 (1974), Goodbye CP (1972).
Shanghai International Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival, IFFR, Sheffield Doc/Fest.
Out of competence
Between 1938 and 1968, the Chisso Corporation’s chemical factory, located in Minamata Bay, on the west coast of Japan, discharged mercury-laden wastewater into the Shiranui Sea. As early as the 1940s, the residents of the fishing villages in this area, who depended on the sea for their livelihood, began to contract a disease with symptoms that included seizures, paralysis, and sensory impairment, leading sometimes to death. In the late 1950s, the Minamata disease was officially recognised as a neurological disorder caused by the consumption of methylmercury accumulated in the food chain. It took over a decade and numerous legal actions filed by the victims, supported by an important social activist movement, for the courts to indict Chisso for their negligence and responsibility in the poisoning. In the following decades victims have been entangled in endless litigation processes, discussions over the certification of the disease and their right to compensation. The social and political aspects of what happened in Minamata have been documented by, among others, Tsuchimoto Noriaki, who developed a remarkable work of advocacy for these communities, directing a long and committed series of films shot over a period of forty years. Director Hara Kazuo follows in the footsteps of Tsuchimoto, to whom this film is dedicated, by looking carefully at “how the neglectful attitude of the government and the politics affect the people in their hearts.” Shot and edited over a period of fifteen years, the film engages with a group of people fighting yet another court case against the local authorities and addresses the complex questions – personal, political, and scientific – that define this environmental issue. The long duration of the film is essential to sharing something vital about the experience and lives of these people and about the protracted nature of a problem that has afflicted these communities for so long and which concerns us all. Minamata Mandala is a profound and urgent reflection on the legacy of the Minamata struggles and an indictment of the authorities’ systemic failure to protect the people affected by the disease. Hara, known for his hard-hitting documentaries about the struggle of individuals opposing the establishment, draws a portrait of a collective struggle, praising “the fighting spirit of everyday people".
Ricardo Matos Cabo