The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin)
Curtis W. Winter
A geographic description of fourteen months of the work and non-work of Tayoko in the mountains of Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. A georgic in five books.
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The second documentary feature by C.W. Winter and Anders Edström, authors of The Anchorage (2009), is the portrait of farming life – the life of Tayoko Shiojiri and his family in their house surrounded by fields and mountains, in a valley in Kyoto Prefecture in Japan. A life strictly regulated by the requirements of the land, the particularities of the seasons, the bonds of a family and a community where hard work bears its fruits regularly as long as nothing diverts it from its steadfast course. Filmed from day to day over twenty-seven weeks and who knows how much editing, constantly re-weaving its work on the loom, the film obeys the same discipline. The discipline of a cinema that is no less attached to the realistic task of encompassing people and representing how they live than to the assiduity of outdoor painting, creating extraordinarily rich soundscapes. As this valley becomes a workshop for the two filmmakers, we think of Cézanne’s protracted efforts facing Sainte-Victoire mountain, and of the studio age when films were manufactured by routine, when each day was almost identical to the one before. We think of Ozu, of course, not only listening to the diary that serves as narrative, but also seeing the lightness of the static shots and what we see there of death at work. And again, of Tony Conrad, whose music opens the film, when the shots acquire a hallucinatory power through their duration.
- PRODUCTION : Silver Salt Films, General Asst. (US), Lumieria Pictures (HK)