Close to the Bone│4K│Documentary│2023│Japan, Taiwan│90 mins
2020 Tokyo Docs “Master Class” selected project｜Yamagata Documentary Dojo 2022
2022 DMZ “Rough-Cut presentation”｜2022 Docs by the Sea “Editing Lab” selected project
The director mourns the great-aunt he never knew by searching for her remains, together with a man who has been digging for the war victims of the Battle of Okinawa.
For over 40 years, Takamatsu Gushiken has been digging in the soil at the former fierce battlefield of the Battle of Okinawa to search for the remains of war victims. The director, Katsuya Okuma, unearths the memories of his great-aunt who was also a victim but who he never knew, is searching for traces of her existence with Gushiken. Yet, one day, the forest where Gushiken collects remains was cut down by the Japanese government to plan to use the earth and sand to reclaim the sea to build a new U.S. military base. To seek public attention, Gushiken decides to plan a hunger strike to express himself toward the government. At the meanwhile, searching for the Gushiken’s uncle who was a Japanese imperial soldier died in Papua New Guinea is also urgent due to the law of digging remains expire in 2024. Okuma continues to match the DNA of his great-aunt, hoping that someday she can have her own remain back to the family. The film depicts how a community that experienced a violent war acquires collective memory through the search for the remains and video archives of two people from different generations who didn’t experience the war.
For both Gushiken and Okuma, searching is a way of mourning for the dead, will they be able to excavate the true meaning to the endless digging?
Director: Katsuya OKUMA
Producer: HUANG Yin-yu
Associate Producer: So SUGAYA, LIN Wen-chun
Cinematographer: Katsuya OKUMA, NAKATANI Shungo
Production: Moolin Production, Co., Ltd., Moolin Films, Ltd.