Produced at the height of Japan’s economic boom of the 1980’s, Yama documents the struggles of unionised day-labourers in the San’ya district of Tokyo, on the frontlines of a violent class war. It is a film for the workers, intended to function as a weapon in their struggle – one that cost director Sato his life. On December 22 1985, during filming, he was murdered by Yakuza gangsters whom Sato intended to expose for their criminal involvement in the restructuring of the job market. A collective of directors headed by Kyoichi Yamaoka finished the film, before Yamaoka, too, was later murdered.
Director: Mitsuo Sato & Kyoichi Yamaoka.
An outstanding and incredibly important film for which the director paid the highest price. The commitment and courage taken to relate these stories is extraordinary, The film craft needed to relate the events, from the microscopy and intensity of each interaction to the overwhelming macro-forces of history, politics and economics, is every bit as remarkable and only compounds the loss of Sato Mitsuo and his unmade body of work.
i wantend this movie for so long, im always going back to sanya. i love that place
What a powerful rare documentary. If you are interested in the plight of day laborers in Japan please also read “Sanya Blues”, “Men of Uncertainty”. “Undergorund Japan” and “A Man with no Talents”…great books.