katrinaolson.ca - A New Moon Over Tohoku (CIFF 2016)

Posted on Monday, September 26, 2016 at 11:00 AM

A New Moon Over Tohoku (CIFF 2016)

Review by Katrina Olson-Mottahed x CalgaryMovies.com

A KO Review by Emily Mody

A New Moon Over Tohoku is a full-length documentary directed by Linda Ohama. The story follows various Japanese families and the experiences they had during the tsunami in 2011 that decimated the coastline along Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. Drawing on the strength of tradition and the human spirit, Ohama paints an honest and powerful picture of the disaster that rocked the world.

A New Moon Over Tohoku is very interesting. I feel like Ohama did an excellent job of portraying the experience of the disaster for the audience. Often it is difficult to fully grasp the nature of the devastation when it is so far removed from your own life. A New Moon Over Tohoku provides first hand accounts, which demonstrates the nature of the disaster in a very relatable way. There were parts of the film that were very difficult to watch and made me cry. I suppose this only further demonstrates how effective the first hand accounts are. They allow people to relate to each other on a very human level despite any differences that may separate them.

I remember watching a Canadian documentary on the Hiroshima nuclear disaster when I was in film school. I learned how it is very difficult for Japanese people (culturally) to talk of their experiences because they feel as though their particular experience is not unique. They feel as though they should not be singled out to tell their story because so many people suffered. A New Moon Over Tohoku reminded me a lot of that film. The style and tone were very similar.

I would recommend A New Moon Over Tohoku to anyone who likes a solid documentary about human courage in the face of overwhelming natural destruction. There were various interviews from people who were not actually present in Japan during the disaster but they had had family there. I thought this was a particularly interesting viewpoint to showcase because so many of my classmates had had families that were directly affected by the tragedy. It was difficult at the time to fully understand what they were going through. I also really like how A New Moon Over Tohoku offers a look at the tsunami five years after the destruction. I feel like it is so easy, particularly as people who are so far removed from the disaster, to be actively helpful when the destruction is taking place. People may even continue to provide aide for a while after the disaster has hit. After a period of time, however, people have a tendency to return to their normal life and forget about the destruction that has taken place because it is no longer front-page news. A New Moon Over Tohoku is a very important reminder, which demonstrates that the Japanese people who were affected by this tragedy, in some cases, literally lost everything except their lives. A lot of individuals were less lucky than that. The Japanese people are still affected by the destruction of the tsunami to this day even though it is five years later. I think the message is clear and so important: never forget. There is so much work to be done.

A New Moon Over Tohoku is being screened as a part of The Calgary International Film Festival. It will be playing at Cineplex Eau Claire 4 on Friday, September 30th at 6:45pm and The Globe on Saturday, October 1st at 1:45pm. Director Linda Ohama as well as Kanako Sasaki and Sera Sasaki (documentary subjects) will be in attendance at both screenings.

Calgary Showtimes: 17th Calgary International Film Festival 2016 > | A New Moon Over Tohoku >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.