|New Docs Japan|
Ultimate Land—A Year of Iwasaki Onikenbai(“Kukkyo no chi—Iwasaki Onikenbai no ichinen”)
JAPAN / 2008 / Japanese / Color / Video / 161 min
Director, Photography, Editing: Miyake Nagaru
Narrator: Toyokawa Jun
Sound: Taneda Go
Executive Producer: Echigoya Takashi
Appearances: Iwasaki Onikenbai Preservation Society, others
Production: Aichi Arts Center
World Sales: Miyake Nagaru
In Iwasaki, a farming village in Kitakami, Iwate Prefecture, a local dance called Iwasaki Onikenbai (Demon Sword Dance) has a history going back more than 1,300 years and lives on in the villagers’ daily lives. When flutes and drums resound, young and old, office workers and students alike find their feet and hands moving, and they begin to dance. A heroic dancer behind a monstrous mask stomps his feet, and his body is imbued with a spirit inherited from the past. Over the seasons in this verdant rural village, the invocatory dance is handed on to the next generation.
[Director’s Statement] I was struck by the way a folk art is deeply rooted in the lives of the people performing Iwasaki Onikenbai, and the way a local community shares the body of a folk art as its common language. Their lives raise many questions for those of us who live in modern societies where the ties of community are being lost.
Born in 1974, Miyake is a graduate of Tama Art University. His early experimental films addressed the subject of the body. Corrosion Tone (1998) and The Day (2003) were shown at festivals in more than ten countries, including the Montreal World Film Festival. He is currently focusing on making documentary films. His films include men-uchi (2006), a portrait of a 22-year old Japanese craftsman carving Noh masks.