This entry was posted on March 15th, 2019

By Alonso Castro

In the northeast coast of Japan, in March 2011, one of the worst recorded earthquakes was experienced, causing the outbreak of a tsunami composed of waves that reached a height of 40 meters approximately. A British correspondent of The Times, Richard Lloyd Parry, was during such a catastrophe in Japan, being able to record and report what happened and experienced by the surviving inhabitants, as well as the effects of such a natural disaster, publishing all that information in the book entitled Ghosts of the Tsunami. Death and life in Japan’s disaster zone (2017).

Taking into account the above, in Rising from the Tsunami (2019), the filmmakers Hélène Robert and Jeremy Perrin take as reference the narrated by Richard Lloyd Parry to represent the remnants of the disaster in Japanese society. There is an emphasis in rescuing the testimonies of some survivors around, mainly, the post-disaster life, the grief after the loss of a loved one and the beliefs about what happens after death.

From a testimonial narrative form, the filmmakers reconstruct the sense of mourning of the survivors: the film acquires an austere and sober atmosphere to convey the sorrow and memories for the loss of loved ones. The testimonies are recorded and transmitted in low key, approaching carefully the memories that contain feelings of pain.

Rising from the Tsunami could have acquired a sensationalist tone. Nevertheless, the film explores the subjectivities of the survivors around the duel, linking this topic with the popular belief of the existence of ghosts of those people who died or disappeared after the catastrophic event. In this way, the belief that the living ones coexist with ghosts is represented by a mystical atmosphere that predominates every time a victim testifies of some supernatural experience.

In Rising from the Tsunami, there is a mystical tale about the grief and resilience of the survivors of the tsunami in Japan, in 2011. The memory and popular beliefs are mechanisms that work to deal with the pain and ghosts of the past.

Directed by: Hélène Robert, Jeremy Perrin
Producers: Elsa Minisini, Elisabeth Pawlowski, Jean Baptiste Fribourg, Francis Forge
67 min