A New Moon Over Tohoku
Tohoku no Shingetsu
Ignite | BC Spotlight
Linda Ohama (Obaachan’s Garden) returns to VIFF after spending two and a half years on location in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, and she brings with her this compassionate documentary. It chronicles the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident that devastated the coastal Japanese region of Tohoku. Cinematically beautiful and socially significant, the film portrays humanity in the face of disaster, and it achieves a balance between the intellectual and the spiritual by conveying both candid information and poetic observations on the fallout.
Ohama interviews people whose lives were affected by the disaster, narrating in English to convey a personal and intimate understanding of a catastrophe which sometimes feels too alien to relate to. Her choice to structure the film around the elements provides a mature perspective on the disaster, showing respect for the earth and environment as well as consideration for the lives that were radically, if not fatally, altered by the events. Along with Kirk Tougas’ indelible cinematography, these qualities bring the film to a greater level of artistry than is often found in documentaries of its kind. In this contemplative film, Ohama’s focus on the natural cycle of life suggests hope for Tohoku in the symbol of a new moon—an unseen but guiding presence of rejuvenation and new beginnings.
"Captures the heartache of loss in the subjects’ own words but delivers a life-affirming message of hope in the face of adversity."—Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada