In Thy Kingdom by the Sea

(Umibe no okoku de)

- POLAND, JAPAN / 2019 / Polish, English / Color, B&W / Digital File / 23 min

Director: Keino Yutaro
Photography: Mei Shuxuan, Keino Yutaro, Agnieszka Lubera
Editing: Keino Yutaro, Dorota Ro
Text: Hadama Kenji
Reading: Kamila Karska
Music: Pancerne Rowery
Sound Design: Nicolas de la Vega
Produced by: Polish National Film School in Lodz
Source: Keino Yutaro

The many stories of the men and women whose lives are bound to the sea. Quickly to the harbor, by train, plane, and automobile: sailors here for work from various countries including the Philippines, women whose husbands are rarely on land, young men who dream of becoming fishermen like their fathers, soldiers from the naval base, students, priests and their followers, as well as those visiting their loved ones’ graves. This black-and-white film, by a young Japanese director studying film in Poland, moves at a poetic rhythm, giving life to the world of those who live with the harbor.

[Director’s Statement] It’s been nearly five years since I came to Poland. This film was made during the third year. I was living in a city called Łódź. One day on board a tram, I saw an ad recruiting college students for Gdynia National Maritime University. Łódź was more than 300 kilometers from Gdynia, which was by the ocean. It made me want to go and see it.

That summer, I bought a used car for about 60,000 yen and roamed through Eastern Europe alone with no precise destination. Having lived abroad for some time, I had begun to feel lonely. I had no idea of how to end my journey, when one day I remembered that ad.

After the summer ended, I began shooting in Gdynia. During the shoot my car broke down several times. This happened in the winter too, when the temperature was 15°C below zero outside and I would spend the night sleeping in my car, my sleeping bag wrapped around me.

That car kept breaking down at key moments, yet that was how I was able to meet the people who ended up in this film. In Gdynia, some friends suggested I go see the Hel Peninsula, facing Gdynia. This peninsula is 100 m at its narrowest and 35 km long; a popular summer vacation spot, it remains deserted in winter. And I was told that there are fishermen who live here, on this land that might be swept away by the sea at any moment. As a Japanese person, I felt a sense of closeness.

In this film we encounter people I met in Poland who live in both of those places, as well as sailors on board ships from abroad, anchored in the port of Gdynia. I too had come from a far and foreign land, and I began wanting to put myself in their place, thinking about what it means to have a family and live far away from all who are dear to you.

Keino Yutaro

Born in Tokyo, graduated in Theatre and Film Arts from Waseda University. He founded and edited the film magazine “Mirage” and worked for the Daily Bulletin at YIDFF 2011. After finishing his studies at Waseda, he went to the Leon Schiller National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź. Poland. He shot a few short films including We Won’t Have Our Time Again in 2019; its main character is a young pickpocket living in Łódź. He was selected by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs Program of Overseas Study for Upcoming Artists in 2018. That same year, he received private instruction from Hungarian filmmaker Tarr Béla. Beginning in 2019 he has been covering the Polish National Radio in the aim of making a feature-length documentary, and he is preparing another feature which he will start after completing his current film studies.