Koyo Yamashita | Stories Buried and Unburied

Juror Presentation
  • Koyo

No Longer Available


The State Theatre #1 Wed, Mar 22, 2023 1:00 PM



U-M Center for Japanese Studies



Wendy Lawson

Stories and myths, covered and forgotten, breathe beneath our daily contemporary lives. These three films made in East Asia deal with the body, spirituality, and memories. These topics, while marginalized in the dominant discourse, open up communication with other possible worlds and narratives.


Flos Pavonis
Aya Momose
Japan | 2021 | 30 | Digital File
In Flos Pavonis, Aya Momose follows a film correspondence format, which has been used traditionally in Japanese diary films. This film narrates the ongoing repressive control over the female body in two culturally distant countries, Poland and Japan, during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Flos pavonis” is a herb that was used as an abortifacient by enslaved Black women with unwanted pregnancies under colonial rule. In 2021, Poland had just made abortion illegal, and in Japan people’s activities continued to be limited by the pandemic. A story of their own bodies being oppressed is told through the email correspondence of two women in these countries. This work (by the up-and-coming visual and performance artist Momose) centers on a sense of alienation in gendered and sexualized society.

Mowen Wang
China | 2020 | 19 | Format
In Trinity, Dalian-based artist Mowen Wang explores the threshold between two worlds—the living and the dead—through an interesting interplay between documentary and fiction, and between the narrative and the visual, suggesting the healing quality of the unconscious narrative. Paying a visit to the neighborhood of her mother, who had passed away six years before, the filmmaker comes upon a certain fortune-teller. While displaying the personal feelings of a daughter facing the absence of her mother, the work also delicately illustrates the rigid relationships of a nuclear family living in contemporary China and the moment they thaw.

Mud Man
Chikako Yamashiro
Japan | 2017 | 23 | Digital File
Okinawa has a history of colonization by Japan and now by the United States with its military base located there. In Chikako Yamashiro’s Mud Man, the World War II battle is revitalized in the memories of the dead/sleeping people in the mud by a drop of bird shit. Awakened, they start to recognize the voices in the air, resonating with those of the Korean Jeju Island with which they share a historically traumatic experience. The vibration of hands clapping leaves the hands and reaches the ears where it is perceived as sound. The drifting sound is embodied by moving images. The “people of the soil” are people of the remnants that appear as if in a dream in the instant of the vibration of sound.

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Koyo Yamashita is the director of the Image Forum Festival (Japan) and the programmer of the Theater Image Forum (Tokyo). He has been a guest programmer/curator for many film and media art festivals and events around the world such as Transmediale (Berlin), Bozar (Brussels), and Arkipel International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival (Jakarta). He has served on juries for many international film festivals, including Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, and the Rotterdam International Film Festival.