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A FAREWELL TO THE LAND

Japan, 1982 (MIFF 1982)

Director: Mitsuo Yanagimachi

The Yamazawas. a small peasant family, live in an area of Kashima where the rural landscape has been destroyed through the building of industrial plants.

The eldest son, Yukio, supports his family by working as a lorry-driver. He is a violent, ambitious and hardworking man. Then his two sons, of whom he was very fond, drown. Yukio loses his sense of purpose, starts drinking, goes berserk and even beats his pregnant wife. Fumie, who can't bear seeing him destroy himself, escapes to her parents but soon realizes that she cannot come to terms with them.

Mitsuo Yanagimachi is one of Japan's newest directors. His first dramatic feature. A 19-Year-Old's Plan, was screened at last year's Festival. Without doubt his view of social relations in his country is uncompromisingly bleak. From the vengeful student at war with the world in his first film, he proceeds to an analysis of the breakdown of family relations ensuing from creeping industrialization. His themes are the major issues of Japanese life and the most violent.

A Farewell to the Land is a gruelling document of social catastrophe in which only the briefest glimmer of hope can be found. It is also an intense and engrossing film made virtually outside Japan's present production system by a director of considerable insight and ability, one whose contribution to the fund of Japanese film culture may well rank very high.

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