The Weavers of Nishijin (1961)

14 Apr


Director: Toshio Matsumoto

Synopsis (VEEHD): A documentary about traditional weavers of Nishijin. — “Documentaries up until then were mostly made with the backing of a labor union or Communist Party organization. If you thought of doing something different from that you had to create a completely different support structure because there was no foundation for making such films or showing them. You were forced to start from there. Right at that time just after the setback over the 1960 US-Japan Security Treaty I filmed the documentary Nishijin with the backing of a film viewer society called the “Kyoto Society for Viewing Documentary Cinema.” Of course in terms of awareness they were left-wing but still not what you call a political organization. I think they were the first to try to cultivate new spectators and make the kind of films they wanted to see on their own. As an initial plan I proposed something like what Ive just been talking about and got their approval to address Kyotos Nishijin with the aim of giving form to something more deeply submerged within the situation something warped and hard to express. I wasn’t trying to depict the place called Nishijin or show people weaving but to give shape to the thick silent unvoiced voices lurking beneath Nishijin. I eliminated so-called “unusual” subjects or decisive moments and opted for the form of a cine poem that persistently piled up exacting images. Opinion was divided over the results but the fact it won the Silver Lion at the Venice International Documentary Film Festival helped clear the way for my next steps.” Toshio Matsumoto


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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Documentary, Textile Industry


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