A truck driver spending his weekends & holidays to direct films, while attempting to create new ways to produce & distribute indie films in Japan. That’s Katsuya Tomita, a promising independent director. And this is his latest film (to date).
Saudade is about construction workers, hip-hop and immigrants. Set in Kofu City, a small town, the film tells the story of Takeshi, working on construction sites where he becomes friends with two (immigrant) laborers. He’s also part of a hip-hop group, and must deal with his parents, who’ve lost their business & have become addicted to gambling.
On paper, this looks like an ambitious project, showing how Japan has been affected by the recession, with people losing their jobs as well as their hopes, creating tensions between communities. And it’s also about people trying to get heard, using music to denounce this situation. It’s rare these days to see a japanese (indie) filmmaker taking a stand on social issues like these ones, it’s more risky, original & interesting than filming apathetic people looking at the blue sky.
Intriguing for the least, Saudade is a 167-min long film produced from donations (budget estimated at $200,000 according to IMDb). By the way, the title can be loosely translated from Portuguese as “Longing, yearning, a dream one will never claim…”.
It premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in August 2011, and it seems the film will be released in Japan on October 22, 2011.