JAPAN / 1998 / Japanese / Color / 16mm / 136 min

Director: Mori Tatsuya
Photography, Editing, Sound: Mori Tatsuya, Yasuoka Takaharu
Music: Pak Poe
Producer: Yasuoka Takaharu
Production Company, Source: "A" Production Committee
World Sales: Gold View Co., Ltd.
Watanabe Bldg. #201,4-35-10 Honcho, Nakano-ku, Tokyo
164-0012 JAPAN
Phone:81-3-5342-7267 / Fax:81-3-5342-7268

Mori Tatsuya

Born in 1956. Took part in filmmaking from the time he was a student at Tokyo's Rikkyo University. Appeared as an actor in films by Kurosawa Kiyoshi and Ishii Sogo. In 1987 he began working for a television production company. Has worked on more than40 TV documentary and news reports. Made programs on topics such as censorship in music, midget wrestling, and people of super ability, all from his own unique point of view. His first feature - length film "A"was screened at YIDFF ' 97. The re - edited "international"version, one that has been seen at international film festivals in Berlin, Hong Kong, Pusan, and Vancouver will be shown this time. Mori is now shooting his next film based on the Occupation era Shimoyama incident.

Filming for "A"began six months after the Tokyo subway sarin attack (1995), but it was not for another two years and three months that this unique inside look at Aum was finally completed. Thanks to its departure from any preconceived conclusions as well as a production style that favored subtle engagement over a rush to resolution, the film offers us a double - barreled perspective not found in television news reports, one that relativizes the opposites of "them"(the young Aum converts) and "us"(the police, the media, myself, yourself) as two sides of the same coin. With this perspective, the saintly and the self - interested, the just and the hypocritical that are had on both sides, bleed into each other across any clear demarcation. As a result, the film locates its objective not in some exposé of the cult's dark side, but rather in pursuing the spiritual excesses and deficiencies on our side - yours and mine - that are its source.
This film leaves its viewer with an intense visual and intellectual question about what documentary film shows and about what it does not. Since Aum's media strategies continue to win it new members, they too should warrant interrogation, and we are left in a difficult position when it comes to appraising the film. Still, the real reason is surely to be found in current Japanese society that affords little thought for religion.[Fukushima Yukio]

Director's Statement
Despite the fact that the organizers waited as long as they possibly could, I was unable to finish editing "A" in time for the last Yamagata Film Festival. I truly regret that we had to go ahead and screen "A"before I'd completed the final cut. (Besides this cut, which I privately call the "Yamagata Version," there are two others: the domestically screened version of "A"and "A: The International Edition"which is aimed at a viewing public not familiar with the history of the Aum incidents. Of the three, I have to confess that I find the Yamagata Version the most thoughtful.)
The last Yamagata Festival was actually my first experience screening a feature - length film before an audience as well as my first time appearing on stage along with my film. In the two years since then, a lot of things have transpired as we've tried to screen "A,"and I have really come to appreciate that as long as you continue to show a film it remains a vital thing, even for the people who made it.
Though I am now shooting my next film, "A"is hardly a thing of the past. The sense of confusion that we, Japanese, have around Aum has not ended; likewise I remain firmly committed to finding further opportunities t1o screen the film. At this moment then, I can find no greater encouragement than being able to screen the film at Yamagata once again.

COPYRIGHT:Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee