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12 documentaries you can’t miss at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival

yidffdocs2019We present a list of twelve documentaries you shouldn’t miss at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival which will take place from October 10th – 17th, in Yamagata City, Japan.

About the festival:
“Located in a verdant, rolling valley far north of Tokyo, Yamagata City is the site for Asia’s first international documentary film festival. The first Film Festival (in 1989) was an event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Yamagata City, the sponsor of the festival at the time, and has been held biennially ever since in Yamagata’s best season, October.

Until recently, the week-long YIDFF was one of the few film festivals in Asia devoted exclusively to the documentary form. Its scope, however, reaches beyond simply screening recent, ground-breaking work in the International Competition. New Asian Currents, the competition program introducing emerging filmmakers from across Asia, has over the years become one of the Festival’s vibrant centers of attention as a meeting place of raw youthful energy. By featuring special events and programs shedding light on the history and diversity of filmmaking, the YIDFF is working hard to create a new forum for the production of alternative, independent, non-fiction film and the discussion of documentary as a form of expression.” – YIDFF Website

Recommended Documentaries:

Absence

Absence by Ekta Mittal – India | 2018 – 80 minutes

Section: International Competition
The film is about many young people in rural India who left to cities to earn money but lost contact and their families who are waiting for them. As it is shown in the original title of the film, Birha, the film delivers the Indian genre poem, which captures painful partings, in a filmic language. Young people in the movie are gone missing, and so is a clear narrative. The movie portrays people’s absence rather than telling their stories. It expresses with poetic sentiment different hearts: of those who are waiting, of those who are leaving, of those who must let go, of those who are not seen but present in the movie. The second half of the film is shown from the perspective of dead and missing, like in Borges’s novels. The film filled with ghost’s view captures air, things, wind and light, and even the subtlest movement. It is delicate and dreamy. (Lee Seung-min)

Screenings:
October 13th (Sunday) | Yamagata Citizens’ Hall (Large Hall) | 13:00 pm
October 15th (Tuesday) | Yamagata Central Public Hall 6F| 10:00 am

Scene:

 

 

Beyond the Salween River

Beyond the Salween River by Gigi Berardi
Burma, Vietnam, Thailand | 2019 – 65 minutes

Section: New Asian Currents
Forging paths in areas of the country where there were none before, a locally-led team provides healthcare to ethnic minority groups without access to medical care who have been isolated by the country’s long political conflict. With their newfound medical knowledge, some newly-trained young villagers will soon depart on a journey of their own.

Screenings:
October 11th (Friday) | Forum 5 | 11:30 am
October 13th (Sunday) | Forum 3 | 14:10 pm

 

 

Boys for Beauty

Boys for Beauty by Michey Chen – Taiwan | 1998 – 63 minutes

Section: New Asian Currents Special Invitation Films
Full of laughter and sadness, this film depicts the societal interaction and inner struggles of gay teenagers in Taiwan. In memory of director Mickey Chen, who last came to Yamagata in 2011 as a New Asian Currents juror.

Screenings:
October 15th (Tuesday) | Forum 5 | 11:00 am

 

 

Cachada

Cachada: The Opportunity by Marlén Viñayo – El Salvador | 2019 – 81 minutes

Section: International Competition
A group of five women who earn their living as street vendors take part in a theater workshop. The camera accompanies them as they struggle to confront and triumph over the cruelty of life in the working districts of El Salvador, where women face rampant domestic violence and rape.

Screenings:
October 14th (Monday) | Yamagata Central Public Hall 6F | 18:35 pm
October 15th (Tuesday) | Yamagata Citizens’ Hall (Large Hall) | 13:30 pm

Trailer:

 

 

Erased

Erased, Ascent of the Invisible by Ghassan Halwani – Lebanon | 2018 – 76 minutes

Section: New Asian Currents Section
The lingering image of a man kidnapped 35 years ago. The film hunts down and carves into the present the absence of countless existences that were vanished without a trace, written off as anonymous deaths after the civil war.

Screenings:
October 12th (Saturday) | Forum 3 | 17:10 pm
October 14th (Monday) | Forum 5 | 14:40 pm

Trailer:

 

 

Exodus

Exodus by Bahman Kiarostami – Iran | 2019 – 80 minutes

Section: New Asian Currents Section
Migrant workers from Afghanistan who entered the country illegally now wish to go back home, and they make their case at the government center near the border. The stories of people with different family and work circumstances are interwoven in this Exodus—from Iran—with a reggae lilt.

Screenings:
October 11th (Friday) | Forum 3 | 19:20 pm
October 13th (Sunday) | Forum 5 | 11:00 am

 

 

Invisible Actors

Invisible Actors by Chae Hyeong-sik – Korea | 2018 – 122 mintues

Section: New Asian Currents Section
Four actors rehearse playing zombies for a film audition. Encompasses documentary theatre, the actors’ discussion process and their everyday lives—all at the same time they attempt to make a film with the director.

Screenings:
October 11th (Friday) | Forum 5 | 17:20 pm
October 13th (Sunday) | Forum 3 | 19:30 pm

 

 

Midnight Traveler

Midnight Traveler by Hassan Fazili – USA, Qatar, Canada, UK | 2019 – 87 minutes

Section: International Competition
An Afghan couple, both filmmakers, record their three-year journey and flight to Europe with their children after receiving a death sentence from the Taliban. They use the cameras on their smartphones to provide an up-close and personal document of the fears and perils of their escape.

Screenings:
October 11th (Friday) | Yamagata Central Public Hall 6F | 10:00 am
October 15th (Tuesday) | Yamagata Citizens’ Hall (Large Hall) | 10:30 am

Trailer:

 

 

No Data Plan

No Data Plan by Miko Revereza – Philippines, USA | 2018 – 70 minutes

Section: New Asian Currents Section
“Mama has two phone numbers.” A journey of film in the space it takes a train to leave Los Angeles and head to New York. The latest work from the director of Droga! and Disintegration 93–96 (YIDFF 2017).

Screenings:
October 14th (Monday) | Forum 5 | 17:00 pm
October 15th (Tuesday) | Forum 3 | 11:30 am

Trailer:

 

 

Reason

Reason by Anand Patwardhan – India | 2018 – 218 minutes

Section: International Competition
Religious conflict and the spread of Hindu nationalism have become increasingly grave issues in contemporary Indian society. This four-hour monumental work documents the actions of those using reason to resist this state of affairs. From Anand Patwardhan, director of In the Name of God (YIDFF ’93) and Father, Son and Holy War (YIDFF ’95).

Screenings:
October 12th (Saturday) | Yamagata Citizens’ Hall (Large Hall) | 13:00 pm
October 13th (Sunday) | Yamagata Central Public Hall 6F | 15:45 pm

Trailer:

 

 

The Crosses

The Crosses by Teresa Arredondo, Carlos Vásquez Méndez – Chile | 2018 – 80 minutes

Section: International Competition
Union members at a paper plant in a southern Chilean village are massacred, a few days after Pinochet’s seizure of power in a coup d’état. The perpetrators seemed to have escaped prosecution by slipping into the shadows, but testimony uncovered 40 years later brings their motives to light.

Screenings:
October 12th (Saturday) | Yamagata Citizens’ Hall (Large Hall) | 10:30 am
October 15th (Tuesday) | Yamagata Central Public Hall 6F | 13:00 pm

Trailer:

 

 

Yukiko

Yukiko by Noh Young-Sun – France | 2018 – 70 minutes

Section: International Competition
The director lives in France and her mother in Korea—during the war, her grandmother moved from Japan to Seoul, to join her Korean lover. Traversing Ganghwa Island where her mother lives, and Okinawa, where her grandmother chose to spend her final days, a fictional tale coaxes to life this wartime tragedy.

Screenings:
October 11th (Friday) | Yamagata Central Public Hall 6F | 12:30 pm
October 13th (Sunday) | Yamagata Citizens’ Hall (Large Hall) | 18:30 pm

Trailer:

 

 

For more information about the programme please visit the official website of the festival: Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival

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