2019 / 134m - Japan
Bon-Uta, A Song from Home poster


August 20, 2023


A documentary about a piece of local Japanese culture thought to be on the brink of extinction due to the Fukushima disaster. The song and dance known as Bon-Uta was mainly performed by people in the area, but as they scattered, it became difficult to keep the tradition alive.

The documentary sought out a few die-hards and went with whatever popped up. There's a trip to Hawaii, where the tradition lives on, some bits about the return to Fukushima, and some segments about the drums, the dance, and the songs. It's all over the place though, which also explains the length of this film.

There are some nice moments, mostly when the interviewees go about their daily business. The Bon-Uta part I found less thrilling, in part because the plain docu-style does it little justice. Just seek out Toyoda's Shiver if you want a way more impressive rendition of these types of local traditions.