E O KAKU KODOMOTACHI
Scen.: Susumu Hani. F.: Shizuo Omura. Su.: Zen’ichiro Sakurai. Prod.: Teizo Oguchi per Iwanami. 16mm. Bn e Col.
This followup to Kyoshitsu no kodomotachi not only was pronounced the year’s Best Short Film from the Japanese film magazine “Kinema Junpo”, but also won acclaim beyond Japan, scooping the prize for Best Short Film at Cannes and the award for Best Educational Short at Venice. Hani maintained the observational and spontaneous approach of the earlier film, while keeping the subjectivity of the participants to the fore by focusing on the creativity of its subjects. We witness a class of schoolchildren drawing pictures, painting, and modelling in clay or sand; occasional cutaways to full-colour close ups of the drawings allow the narrator to speculate on their meaning. Hani himself recalled screening the film many years later at a Japanese university that had gathered the original participants, now aged 60. “I was quite shocked,” he remarked, “because I thought that they would laugh at the movie. But I had recorded their images inside when they were very young, six or seven years old; I had recorded, maybe, very complicated, personal things. So, instead, they cried.”
Alex Jacoby and Johan Nordström