Saudade

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Saudade

Directed by Katsuya Tomita

  • Japan 2011; 167 min
  • Original version: Japanese, Portuguese, Thai
  • Genre: Drama
    • Grand Prix - Festivals des 3 Continents

  • Locarno Festival Competition

Synopsis

What characterized Kofu, Yamanashi-prefecture in 2008 was the struggle of contractors to avoid the construction industry from collapsing. And in addition, the further marginalized lives of the Japanese-Brazilian and immigrant Thai workers.

Takeru, a member of Kofu’s local hip-hop gang “Army Village,” also works as a contractor, as his parents are bankrupt from Pachinko gambling. One day, Takeru is taken to a Thai bar with Seiji, who works at construction sites with Japanese-Brazilians, and Hosaka, who just returned from Thailand. While Seiji and Hosaka drink the night away with the Thai bar girl Miyao, Takeru shows outright xenophobia towards Miyao for being a foreigner. “ The immigrants steal all our cash away from the Pachinko! ” Seiji’s wife Keiko, who works at a spa, is drawn into a suspicious deal, offered from Yumi, a well-off customer of her’s. While Seiji dreams of living in Thailand with Miyao, she needs to continue working in Japan, in order to support her family back in Thailand. As subcontractors gradually collapse, Hosaka is inclined to leave the city, as well.

Director's Statement

The film is the thematic sequel to OFF HIGHWAY 20. Set in Kofu, a rural town in Japan, the production team spent a year of research and two years of production in order to create the film. All cast members are actual residents of the town, including Brazilian, Thai, and Filipino immigrants who were met during film production. Many of the Japanese actors are my childhood friends (Kofu is my home town). The production evolved organically, incorporating the real lives of those casted in the film. The budget for the film was raised primarily through donations from the local people of Kofu, thereby allowing Kozuku production to maintain its freedom (any external financial support may have jeopardized the ability to maintain this level of honesty). I wishes to present the decadence of contemporary Japan that, no longer able to sustain itself through its own economic power, is placing a burden on others.

Production

  • KUZOKU

    Terutarô Osanaï  

  • FLYING PILLOW FILMS

    Atsuko Ohno