The Weald is a documentary portrait of six groups of elderly people who live in the Yoshino mountains in the Nara prefecture. In her film, Kawase Naomi points straight to the hearts of these people and listens attentively to their stories. She refused to analyse their lives; she wanted to portray them as they are. Held together by fragments of a sad melody, the film links the loneliness of a single ageing woman to the sadness of a married couple who have lost a child and to the dreams of villagers. When people leave the village, the inhabitants who stay behind carry on with their modest lives.Kawase's thorough research and flexible attitude during shooting ensured that the optimism and courage of these people could shine through in their melancholy existence. The tranquil camerawork shows people in sunlight, a gust of wind over a dusty floor, a forest of trees that look lacquered and evokes associations with old rural Japan.The title, the maker says, has a nostalgic sound. The character 'soma', that combines the characters for 'tree' and 'mountain', has for centuries been used to refer to people who live in the mountains.

Original title
Somando monogatari
Filmmaker
Kawase Naomi
Premiere
International premiere
Country
Japan
Year
1997
Medium
16mm
Length
73’
Language
Japanese
Producer
Kawase Naomi, Fuseya Hiroo
Sales
Bitters End Inc.
Writer
Kawase Naomi
Cinematography
Kawase Naomi
Editor
Kawase Naomi