Kaki Kouba - Saturday, China is coming
If tomorrow Kazuhiro Sôda were to ring at your door with his camera in tow, rejoice. He would make your family and coworkers accept his friendly self, remain omnipresent but discrete, and would leave with a story much more thrilling than you ever imagined your daily life was, somehow also documenting your countrymen’s idiosyncrasies and concerns in the background.
Who would have thought that fishing and shucking oysters could be so engaging to a film audience? It is, though. And for many reasons beyond the mollusk itself. Sôda’s new observational documentary depicts the world of small oyster factories in Japan’s southern province of Okayama, where rural exodus has made resorting to extra workforce from China unavoidable. As the staff of the Hirano Oyster Factory is getting ready to welcome two new colleagues, we gradually understand that the Chinese are landing on these shores with a bit of a reputation...
Viewers familiar with Sôda’s previous documentaries (Mental, the Campaign and Theatre diptychs) will recognize the filmmaker’s talent for recording people’s unconscious behaviors and welcoming unpredictability. An open attitude rewarded again by a surge of strange or comical events.
Films may not change the world, but Kazuhiro Sôda’s films can certainly show us how to look and truly see our changing world.Aurélie Godet