small community in the mountainous Nara prefecture seems to live in perfect
harmony with nature. Actually, that is
sort of a problem. There ought to be
more people around to throw off the balance.
Instead, only a rapidly aging remnant is left. Director-cinematographer-editor Pedro González-Rubio
quietly documents the villagers and their environment in Inori (trailer
which screens tomorrow as a selection the Museum of the Moving Image’s second
annual First Look film series.
village was always small, but it was once relatively bustling. However, as economic opportunities dried up,
the younger generations migrated to larger cities. Now only senior citizens remain. Some feel honor bound to stay and tend the
graves of their parents. Others simply
cannot face the trauma of moving.
some viewers might initially consider the village a verdant paradise. Produced by celebrated Japanese filmmaker
Naomi Kawase, Inori is more similar
in look and tone to her contemplative feature Mourning Forest than her intensely personal documentaries. González-Rubio vividly captures a sense of
the area’s hushed stillness. At first it is quite striking, but it never really
changes. As a result, Inori’s mere seventy-two minutes become
rather sluggish. Time indeed passes
slowly up here in the mountains.
González-Rubio frames some lovely shots.
While his approach is strictly observational, Inori still engenders respect for the villagers. These are not hicks. They have worked hard all their lives, but
they are educated and dignified. Religious
and/or spiritual, Shinto and Buddhist practice also appears to be strong within
the remaining community. Frankly, this
was probably a nice place to live in more prosperous times.
has images that could be sold as collectible prints,
but as a viewing experience it is rather static. More of a hike through the woods than a film,
Inori is best saved for González-Rubio
and Kawase’s most ardent admirers. For
those self-identifying cats, it screens tomorrow (1/6) in Astoria, Queens, as
the 2013 edition of First Look continues at MoMI.
Labels: Documentary, First Look '13, Naomi Kawase