by Chris MaGee
So many of the giants of Japanese documentary film-making are woefully under-represented on DVD here in North America. Currently the best that you can get on DVD are the films of Kazuo Hara through Tidepoint Pictures and the first two films, "Campaign" and "Mental" through director Kazuhiro Soda himself. Therse films are great, but so many have other grteat documentaries have never made it across the pond to these shores. That's changing now that Zakka Films, who previously released the wonderful collection "The Roots of Japanese Anime: Until the End of WW2", are now releasing four of the best known films by Japanese documentary film-maker Noriaki Tsuchimoto.
Tsuchimoto came to fame, or some may say infamy, in the 1970's with his 1973 documentary "Minamata: The Victims and Their World", which chronicled the posioning of of local townsfolk around the Chisshu Chemical Plant in Minamata, Kyushu. The neurological disorder caused by mercury contamination of the surrounding groundwater was disputed by Chisshu, but Tsuchimoto's film helped to communicate the plight of the disease's sufferers to a wider world. Tsuchimoto would go on to direct, amongst many films, "On the Road: A Document", "Traces: The Kabul Museum 1988" and "Another Afghanistan: Kabul Diary 1985" all of which are now available through Zakka Films and can be purchased through Film Baby.
Check out the trailer for "Minamata: The Victims and Their World" below and make sure to add these amazing discs to your collection.