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Time Traveling Through Asian Documentary’s Pasts And Futures



This essay examines a very special event that took place immediately following the 2009 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. The director of that festival, Fujioka Asako, stayed in northern Japan and held back the young Chinese filmmakers. They retreated to a tiny village deep in the mountains, a place made famous by in his penultimate film. Fujioka called in the cinematographer of that film, along with several directors of the same generation. They held a ‘dojo,’ a school where the veteran independent filmmakers from Japan taught the younger generation of independent filmmakers from China. They watched films, shot and hand-developed Super-8 films, and held discussions deep into the night. It was evident that the independent scene of present-day China looked very much like that of Japan in the 60s and 70s—a kind of time slip in the mountains.