“Homeland”, the first Japanese mass-market movie set in Fukushima, presents the story of a farming family that has to leave its home after a violent earthquake and tsunami hit the area they are living in.
The family has to live in cramped temporary housing under stress as they wait for permission to return to land worked by their ancestors for generations.
The movie was shown at the recent Berlin Film Festival. It features some scenes shot in areas once declared no-go zones by the government due to high radiation levels.
“I wanted to make a film that would be relevant for a long time to come, that people could watch in 10, 20, 50 or even 100 years and see that this sort of claustrophobic situation came about,” director Nao Kubota said.
“That is what I want everyone to feel – and it is for that reason that it is not anti-nuclear.”
The movie that was released in Japan on March 1, almost three years after the disaster, centers on long-estranged son Jiro, who secretly moves into the exclusion zone to reclaim the family farm.
“The birds were singing and we felt like we were intruding. But despite the beauty, everything was frozen in time,” said Kubota about the Fukushima areas filmed for the movie.
“It was beautiful but no one could live there. In a way, there was something menacing. You could not smell it, the colors had not changed, and you could not see or physically feel it. There is that sort of fear.”
“Taking a camera into the no-go zone and filming there really shows the claw marks of the nuclear accident,” said film critic Yuichi Maeda. “He may say he is not anti-nuclear but after seeing the film I think he actually is.”