3/11 and Nippon Connection: A Different Look at the Catastrophe


3/11 has had lingering aftereffects across all aspects of Japanese culture and society. That’s why there is a focus on documentary and fictional films that deal with the catastrophe of Fukushima. Here is a quick summary of all film premiers and events featured by Nippon Connection this year that focus on some aspect of the tsunami and nuclear accident at Fukushima.  


The Whispering Star (Sion Sono)

While this film is not explicitly about 3/11, director Sion Sono did do most of the filming in the evacuation zone that still surrounds the Fukushima plant, using local amateur actors instead of big-name stars, which will undoubtedly lend the movie a powerful atmospheric air.


Wednesday, May 25, 2:30pm (Mousonturm)

Sunday, May 29, 10:15pm (Mal Seh’n Kino)


Landscapes After 3/11: Nature and Symptoms/From Four Poems (Takamasa Iwasaki), Close but Distant (Yui Okubo)

NC16_visions_Landscapes After 311_Close but Distant_01

This special premier event will feature two documentary films that look at the events of 3/11 from very unique and personal angles. In Nature and Symptoms, Takamasa Iwasaki worked with three different artists exploring the abandoned areas and ghost towns in the areas around Fukushima, many of which nature has already started to take back. Meanwhile, Close but Distant is an effort by the director, Yui Okubo, to document the reconstruction of his hometown of Otsuchi (Iwate Prefecture), in order to preserve its past for his niece, who will never know the town as it was before the disaster.


Friday, May 27, 5:15pm (Naxoshalle)


A Lullaby Under the Nuclear Sky (Tomoko Kana)

Shortly after the meltdown at the Fukushima plant, director Tomoko Kana found out that the plant had actually started production on her own birthday, 40 years ago. What’s more, she learned shortly after visiting the evacuation zone that she was pregnant – making the issue of radioactivity highly personal for her.


Wednesday, May 25, 5:15pm (Naxoshalle)


My Technicolor Girl (Rei Sakamoto)

NC16_visions_my technicolor girl_03

This fictional film is the story of Nagano, a man who spent 40 years in a mental hospital prior to the earthquake of March 11, 2011. After this terrible event, he decides to finally leave and catch up on his life, travelling to Tokyo to find the love of his youth.


Tuesday, May 24, 10:30pm (Naxoshalle)


Cultural Events:

A Body in Fukushima (Eiko Otake, William Johnston)

NC16_Culture_A body in Fukushima_copyright William Johnston_01

Photographer William Johnston presents a collection of photos of Eiko Otake, a professional dancer, amidst the landscapes of the abandoned area around Fukushima. Through her art, she seeks to encompass themes of sadness, anger, and empathy, and to make a powerful statement against forgetting these events and their costs.


The exhibition will be on display at the Exhibition Room Eulengasse from Wednesday, May 25 through Sunday, June 5. Opening times are Thursdays from 5 to 9pm, Fridays from 3 to 6pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 3 to 7pm. Entry is free.  


Shattered Surfaces: Visualizing Japan’s 2011 Disasters (presented by Dennis Vetter)

NC16_culture_shattered surfaces_6

In this presentation, Dennis Vetter will look at the visual and philosophical nature of selected examples of recordings by both filmmakers and normal citizens of the events of March 2011, examining how these events were documented by the people who experienced them.


The presentation will take place Thursday, 26 May, at 4:30pm in Mousonturm Studio 3. The presentation is in English and will last about an hour. Entry is free.  

We wish you all a wonderful festival experience and look forward to seeing you at Nippon Connection!  

-Noah Franc

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s