Cinema with Us 2021
Still Today: “Where We Are and Where We’re Heading”
This is the sixth edition of Cinema with Us, a special program commemorating the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. This project began ten years ago when its programmers learned of video and film artists who were traveling to the affected areas in the wake of the disaster, meeting people and filming what they saw. The project was initiated out of a strong desire to take a first step toward “sharing through cinema the progress made since the earthquake” and to facilitate “new connections” between people.* We can reflect in looking back on the ensuing years during which this program has continued on whether it has succeeded in creating connections. The scenes themselves that have been captured as images do connect our present as viewers with past memory and bring forth new meaning and value. But these images are particularly powerful among documents of disaster in the ways that they bring about a self-sustaining movement that cultivates empathy. This disaster has been the subject of a continuous stream of films since the time of its occurrence. As frequent new disasters continue to take place and amid the ongoing crisis of the pandemic, these past images will likely now be interpreted in different contexts. The role played by films will remain substantial, if sharing time with others and experiencing “connections,” not only between people, but also between the past and the future, among more minute memories, can become a means to resist the fading of things into the past. We continue the program again this year by presenting four films that make palpable the significance of connection and the weight of time.
* Miyazawa Hiraku, “Where We Are and Where We’re Heading” (from the Great East Japan Earthquake Recovery Support Screening Project “Cinema with Us,” YIDFF 2011 catalog)