a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Peace

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Kazuhiro Soda, whose previous outings, Campaign and Mental, revealed a sharp talent in the field of Wiseman-ish observational documentary, was commissioned by the DMZ Korean International Documentary Festival to make a documentary on the subject of peace. Soda took the big subject, subjecting it to a very personal and micro view, creating a genuinely touching and deep look at peace. Peace (the movie) follows the lives of his in-laws, an older couple involved in public service – he transporting elderly and incapacitated people, she visiting elderly shut-ins. The film unfolds gently and with unexpected turns. The seemingly rambling structure, though, reveals its bigger concerns through variations and leitmotifs. We see a couple keeping their lives functioning peaceably, feral cats bringing peace to their community and most hearbreaking, the story of 90 year-old Shiro Hashimoto, an old World War II vet, reflecting on his past while succumbing to cancer from a lifetime of smoking Peace cigarettes. The unexpected pleasure of Peace is how Soda gets images and stories from the quotidian and makes them profound.

Originally published in EL Magazine, July 2011

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

July 1, 2011 at 1:05 am

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