|New Docs Japan
The Women the War Left Behind(“Hana no yume: Aru Chugoku zanryu fujin”)
JAPAN / 2007 / Japanese, Chinese / Color / Video / 97 min / Subtitled in English
Director, Photography: Azuma Shizu
Photography Support: Ishikura Ryuji
Sound Effect: Watanabe Takehiko
Music: Yokouchi Heigo
Narrator: Yo Kimiko
Producer: Ise Shinichi
Planning, Production Company, World Sales: Ise Film
Wanting to serve her country, 18-year-old Kurihara Sadako traveled to the northeastern part of China then called Manchuria. Unable to return home after the war, she lived there for thirty-five years through poverty and discrimination. Now she spends her old age with her white cat in an apartment in Tokyo, reflecting back quietly on a life spent at the mercy of war and the circumstances of nations. Meanwhile, her children and grandchildren who have chosen to live in Japan have been subjected to anti-Chinese discrimination and other hardships. A stunning debut by a new director.
[Director’s Statement] I am honored to be given this invaluable opportunity to screen my work. This was a film that began with the motif of “war,” but what was revealed over the three years it took to make were the hopes of someone who has lived through all the ages and survived. I would like for as many people as possible to see the film, particularly in this day and age in which we have all but lost sight of what “life” means.
Born in 1975 in Osaka. After graduating from college, Azuma engaged in production of PR films, commercials, and so on, before moving on to direct documentaries in 2003. She received an award for excellence in the Citizen and Community CATV category at The Age of Regionalism Video Festival in 2004 for Please Tell Me Your Story: The Daily Life of Kurihara Sadako, a War-Displaced Japanese Woman, from which The Women the War Left Behind evolved.