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FAREWELL TO THE LAND (1982,JPN)

The Japanese Mitsuo Yanagimachi presented a realistic social and extremely current drama in the main program of the festival in Berlin. We could call this not too well-known author the forerunner of his much more famous compatriot Hirokazu Koreeda, who practically continued where Yanagimachi left off in the meantime. Both authors are specific to this because in most of their films they showed an interest in the lives and fates of ordinary “little” Japanese people, mostly those who do not fit into the standard Western stereotype of the Japanese as successful and hardworking people who achieve results with hard work.

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“Farewell to the Land” takes place in rural Japan in the early eighties and is a poignant social drama that deals with topics such as family relationships, loss of family members, and addictions. Yukio always felt that he was in the shadow of his brother Akihiko and that his parents always favored him. In the meantime, Akihiko moved to Tokyo in search of a better life, while Yukio still lives with his father, mother, wife and two sons on the family farm and leads a traditional lifestyle. They are engaged in agriculture, live modestly, but all that will change when Yukio’s sons drown in a nearby lake.

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This tragedy will not only completely separate Yuki from the rest of the family, but will also lead him down a path of self-destruction. He will become addicted to drugs, he will completely abandon the trucking business he started doing, and on the way down he will also take a new young woman whom he found in the meantime and who gave birth to his child, while he also has a new child with an ex-wife who was pregnant at the time of the accident, but he left her with his parents anyway. And no matter how much everyone tries to help him, Yukio is his own worst enemy and just doesn’t want to live anymore.

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