Children Before the Dawn

(Yoakemae no kodomo-tachi)

JAPAN / 1968 / Japanese / Color / DVD (Original: 16mm) / 120 min

Director: Yanagisawa Hisao
Script: Akihama Satoshi
Photography: Segawa Junichi
Music: Miki Minoru
Presented by: Oki Foundation, the Center for the Comprehensive Study of Welfare for the Disabled
Production Companies: “Children Before the Dawn” Production Committee, International Short Film Company

And Life Goes On

(Watashi no kisetsu)

JAPAN / 2004 / Japanese / Color / DVD (Original: 16mm) / 107 min

Director: Kobayashi Shigeru
Photography: Kobayashi Shigeru, Matsune Hirotaka
Editing: Sato Makoto, Hata Takeshi
Sound, Producer: Tanabe Nobumichi
Planning, Production: “And Life Goes On” Production Committee

In commemoration of both the 30th anniversary of YIDFF and twenty years since the passing of filmmaker Yanagisawa Hisao, we present an uncommon instance of two documentary films directed by master and pupil in the same institution for disabled persons, forty years apart. Biwako Gakuen is a facility providing support for severely mentally and physically handicapped children. Children Before the Dawn (1968) captures them as they begin their rehabilitation, and became the starting point for director Yanagisawa’s series of films documenting disabled children. And Life Goes On (2004) was made on the 40th anniversary of Biwako Gakuen, as it was relocating. These films both unpack the simplistic idea, still lurking in our society, that all people may be defined as either useful or useless—a myth lain bare by the 2016 massacre at Yamayuri-en, a care home for the severely mentally and physically handicapped. Through these two films, made generations apart, this program explores various questions regarding what has changed or remained the same in the past forty years.

Post-screening talk:
Suzuki Hitoshi, Okada Hidenori (tentative), Uratsuji Hiromasa, and Director Kobayashi Shigeru