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The Land of Hope [Blu-ray]
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Sion Sono, the controversial director of LOVE EXPOSURE, HIMIZU and COLD FISH takes on the difficult subject of the recent Fukushima nuclear power plant explosion in typical Sono style. In a typical Japanese village, Yoichi Ono lives with his wife, Izumi and his parents. The Ono family live a frugal, but happy life as dairy farmers living in the peaceful village. One day the worst earthquake in history strikes causing a nearby nuclear power station to explode. Their neighbours, who live within the range of the nuclear power station, are forcibly ordered to evacuate by the government. But the Ono family have only half of their garden designated as within range. They then have to make a hard decision whether to take refuge or not.
The film,which is examining a highly relevant subject, describes the mental anguish of the family. A family that is forced to separate by an extremely unfortunate event beyond their control. The past, the present, and the future of the two couples from different generations rises to the surface.
70-minute Making Of, Theatrical Trailer, Teaser Trailer
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The focus of Land of Hope is not so much on the immediate impact and devastation caused by the next earthquake however, but the aftermath. Here, mirroring the absurdity of the response to the Fukushima meltdown, the authorities answer here is to set up a hopelessly inadequate "exclusion zone" perimeter that is as useless as it is arbitrary. As one of the people affected here furiously observes, how can one side of a street be dangerous and the other side not? It's not as if the radioactive contamination is going to respect a few barriers and some menacing threats at the perimeter signposts.
It's also a useful division for the director to exploit and he examines how people on both sides of the divide are affected, one couple on the wrong side of the exclusion zone sent to a temporary shelter where they are given no information about their home and relatives, while another young couple in the supposedly "safe" area decide to leave their parents right on the edge of the zone and seek a safer place to start a family. What seems to worry Sion Sono most however is the fear of the people to confront the reality of the situation. The government can't be trusted and give misinformation about the extent of the nuclear leaks, while the public are reluctant to be seen as responding hysterically for fear of spreading further panic.
If it were a mainstream movie, you might think that some of the director's techniques were a little heavy-handed, but this is a Sion Sono film and this is a director who will use whatever means necessary to make an impression, and here he has every reason to do so. "Why aren't you worried?", screams Yoichi to his fellow workers who make fun of his wife's paranoid response to her pregnancy by wearing a heavy-duty radiation suit and sealing up doors and windows. This is one subject that Sono is very serious about, and he makes the point very strongly indeed. The very real threat of ignoring or underestimating the danger is still there to see in the mud ghost-towns of the Japanese coastline, and the director makes powerful use of the images - scored to the Adagio from Mahler's 10th - which are more surreal than anything that can come from the mind of Sion Sono. Well, almost...
This film is not for the faint hearted and the first time I watched it I did not really get the message; but having watched the doco and then watched the film again it made a lot more sense. Powerful stuff, you need to be in the right mood for this but it is a film that should be widely seen as it has implications for us all.
the story about the people in this movie is not simply made up, its real!
Video / Audio quality are like all recent thirdwindow blurays perfect.
the making of / documentary about the movie and fukushima is really interessting as well.
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