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Thursday September 23, 2021
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Ann Arbor Film Festival 2017

 

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There's an entirely different brand of isolation at play in Thorsten Trimpop's documentary Furusato, which screens March 26. The film is a sobering look at life in the Japanese town of Minamisoma, contaminated by radiation from the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Over four years of work in Minamisoma, Trimpop collected a broad variety of unsettling stories. Two men in biohazard gear scrape radioactive dust off the side of a road, expressing what they admit to be a vain hope that they might protect the lives of children taking the route to school. A horse breeder frets over horses suddenly gone lame, or that died and were left to rot in their fields because government officials never showed up to inspect the corpses. And elderly citizens throw up their hands at the health risks of continuing to live in Minamisoma. "Running away isn't an option," one senior says, with the same indelible sadness and desperation visible in the faces of every resident in the film. "All I can do now is wait for my death." Trimpop creates a detailed, moving record of the long-term implications of a news event many have already forgotten.

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