Telling Lies is How Documentaries Get Started

Cooperation: The Japan Institute of the Moving Image, Yamagata University, Eiga Hiho

“What are documentaries, and what are movies?” is a question that YIDFF has often confronted, daringly and directly. This program is an attempt to shed light on our efforts of the past quarter century through the lens of “fake documentaries.” The works screened in this program were made out of the impulse to inject themselves into the rift between documentary and fiction and blast it wide open. This very impulse may prove to be a key to the lush diversity of film here at Yamagata.


(Ningen johatsu)

JAPAN / 1967 / Japanese / B&W / 16mm (Original: 35mm) / 130 min

Director, Planning: Imamura Shohei
Photography: Ishiguro Kenji
Editing: Tanji Mutsuo
Sound: Benitani Kenichi, Takeshige Kunio
Music: Mayuzumi Toshiro
Supported by Urayama Kirio
Cast: Tsuyuguchi Shigeru, Hayakawa Yoshie
Production Companies: Imamura Productions, Nippon Eiga Shinsha, ATG
Source: The Japan Foundation

In this shocking creation by Imamura Shohei, a pioneering fake documentary in Japanese history, actor Tsuyuguchi Shigeru and a camera crew follow a woman in search of her missing fiancé. Through this search, the bare realities of human relationships are soon exposed. Situated in the space between fact and delusion, this film skillfully deconstructs documentary itself, calling into question what “truth” in film is.

YIDFF, Japan Institute of the Moving Image and Yamagata University present

Roundtable Discussion The Potential of Fake Documentary—From Fiction, Truth? From Documentary, Reason?

This discussion will focus on fake documentary as a method. We have invited leading filmmakers in the respective fields of fiction and documentary, in the aim of presenting a passionate debate to examine the possibility of a new approach to cinematic expression as viewed from the dubious border said to divide fact from fiction. How are an audience’s experiences of “truth” in a documentary and “reality” in a fiction film utilized to strengthen the narrative momentum of each? Where is the common “truth” portrayed by these two pillars of film—documentary and fiction?

Mori Tatsuya (Filmmaker), Tengan Daisuke (Filmmaker, Professor at Japan Institute of the Moving Image), Murakami Kenji (Filmmaker), Matsue Tetsuaki (Filmmaker), Shiraishi Koji (Filmmaker), Kaeyama Shigeki (Producer)
Moderator: Okubo Kiyoaki (Associate Professor at Yamagata University)

- Related Screening Mori Tatsuya Presents “Truth or Lies”

JAPAN / 2006 / Japanese / Color / Blu-ray / 45 min

Planning, Supervisor: Mori Tatsuya
Director: Murakami Kenji
Editing: Matsue Tetsuaki
Script: Mukai Kosuke
Producer: Kaeyama Shigeki
Production Company, Source: TV TOKYO Corporation

Under the audacious pretext that he is adapting his book Truth or Lies into a television program, Mori Tatsuya and his assistant Yoshida Keiko interview famous documentary filmmakers, with Murakami Kenji filming the “making-of.” The myriad of tricks employed result in an ambitious and uproarious exposé of documentary methods.

Chô Kowasugi!—Shivering Files of the Supernatural Phenomenon FILE-02  Super Horror Story of a Snake Woman

(Senritsu kaiki file cho kowasugi! file-02 ankoku kitan! hebionna no kai)

JAPAN / 2015 / Japanese / Color / Blu-ray / 92 min

Director, Script, Photography: Shiraishi Koji
Cast: Osako Shigeo, Kuboyama Chika, Shiraishi Koji, Mizusawa Shingo
Executive Producer: Hara Keijiro
Producers: Mikami Masahiro, Tasaka Masaaki
Production Company: Video Planning
Production Cooperation: Nippon Shuppan Hanbai, Inc.
Distribution: Kowasugi! Showing Committee
Source: New Select

In this much-awaited new installment in the Kowasugi! series—known for redefining the concept of the fake documentary—boring part-time worker Sakurai meets a young girl in the mountains named Kawano Tsugumi. Sakurai begins to fall for Tsugumi, but she has a terrifying secret. To unravel the mystery, director Kudo, assistant director Ichikawa, and cameraman Tashiro venture where the legend of a snake woman has been passed down for generations. Lauded as the best film yet in the series, Chô Kowasugi! comes to Yamagata!