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The Road To Yamagata

WU Wenguang


In this ten-thousand-word piece of autobiographical writing, Wu Wenguang explores the close ties between himself and Japan since the beginning of his independent filmmaking career. Japan was Wu’s first foreign trip to a film festival, and the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival is the festival he has attended most frequently. In this moving tale of the road to Yamagata—his documentary making journey—Wu details the directors, academics, and programmers he got to know, of whom Ogawa Shinsuke left an indelible mark. Wu visited Ogawa’s studio in Yamagata in 1991 and absorbed the ‘documentary spirit’ that greatly impacted his own mode of filmmaking and thinking. Meanwhile, Wu credits an equal influence from the ‘anti-Ogawa’, Hara Kazuo, namely Hara’s succinct and polished output and sharp social critique.