Special Invitation Films

Manzan Benigaki

- JAPAN / 2001 / Japanese / Color / 16mm / 90 min

[First Shoot Nov.1984-Jan.1985]
Director: Ogawa Shinsuke
Assistant Director: Iizuka Toshio
Photography: Tamura Masaki
Location Sound: Kikuchi Nobuyuki

[Second Shoot Nov-Dec.1999]
Director: Peng Xiaolian
Photography: Jong Lin
Location Sound: Kikuchi Shinpei
On-site Production: Ogata Mitsuhiro
Interpreter: Liu Hanfa
Production Cooperation: Yasui Yoshio

Editing: Peng Xiaolian
Assistant Editor: Mikado Sadatoshi
Sound Editor: Kubota Yukio
Music: Jomon Daiko
Production Company: The Kaminoyama Delicacy Benigaki Documentary Film Production Committee
Co-Producer: Shiraishi Yoko
Production Cooperation: Planet Bibliothèque de Cinéma
Source: Yamagata Documentary Film Library

Using film footage and composition notes left by Ogawa Shinsuke, Chinese director Peng Xiaolian shot additional film and completed the work, which colorfully yet elegantly depicts the manufacturing process of the Kaminoyama red persimmon. It also features fascinating portraits of the people who invent and make the tools and implements for persimmon culture, and the spiel of the old women who run the persimmon trade. By giving this comprehensive view, it illustrates the world of this small but strangely charming fruit and of the people who continue to live in the area of Kaminoyama.

[Director’s Statement] This film, a record of a disappearing Japanese way of life, was started by Ogawa over sixteen years ago. This time, we tried to understand and complete his unfinished work. I still remember the days of re-shooting so clearly. It’s hard to describe the memorable time and experience that we had. We argued a lot, we laughed loudly very often, and also we had shared the spirit of happiness and difficulty with Ogawa during every moment. When I sat in front of the Steenbeck to cut the film, when I forwarded and rewound old film reels many, many times, I saw the working print had suffered many scratches, and I still couldn’t help but to be moved by Ogawa speaking to us. It’s not only his powerful film language, but it’s also Ogawa’s devotion to Japanese culture that inspired us. Because of him, we were drawn together again to finish this film even though he passed away nine years earlier, even though the camera man—Jong Lin and I are Chinese. We tried to honor his steps, and finished the movie guided by his spirit. Ogawa had captured fading Japanese traditions differently from most Japanese. He used his penetrating knowledge and deep personal connection to memorialize a very special part of Japanese culture and to share its beauty with us, with future generations and with the world.


- Peng Xiaolian

Gained a BFA from Beijing Film Academy in 1982. Completed her filmmaking doctorate at NYU Film School in 1994, and still devotes more than half the year to work in New York. Most important works include Me and My Classmates (1986) and A Woman’s Story (1988), which was screened in Japan in 1991 at the Chinese Film Festival. Her dialogue with Ogawa began in the summer of 1991, when she joined Ogawa Productions and shot an hour-long investigative film under the guidance of Ogawa himself. In the summer of the following year, she planned to return to Japan to shoot My Dream of Japan—Chinese Students Living in Japan, based on her investigative film, but Ogawa passed away in February 1992 and the plan was shelved.

• Special Invitation Films | Manzan Benigaki | Devotion | Films by Ogawa Productions | Sea of Youth | Summer in Narita | Magino Story—Raising Silkworms | The Long Holiday | In Honor of Teshigahara Hiroshi | Tokyo 1958 | Sculptures by Sofu—Vita | AKO—White Morning | Jose Torres Part II | Domestic Violence | The Masters and the Slaves | Digital Short Films by Three Filmmakers | Festival Trailer Compilation Film