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In ‘Yanaka boshoku,’ a Neighborhood Is Born in the Fiery Death of a Pagoda

Yanaka boshoku / Deep in the Valley (Funahashi Atsushi, Japan) (World Premiere)
Berlinale Forum, Monday, February 9
Read the Forum synopsis

The Yanaka district of Tokyo is a place apart. Peaceful, leafy and traditional, the neighborhood marks the night of July 6, 1957 as a watershed moment when a five-story wooden pagoda dating from the Edo era burned down.

One of several "semi-documentaries" in this year’s Forum, Yanaka boshoku combines historical narrative, a fictional love story, and real-life film forensics to make an entirely original entertainment. An innovative musical score builds throughout the film, as images coalesce around a final revelatory document of the night the pagoda burned down.

Director Funahashi Atsushi confronts his frustrations with preconceptions of documentary and fiction film head on, as well as conceptions of what is high (pagoda building) and low (filmmaking). The film’s featured group, the Yanaka Film Preservation Society, exists in reality.

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