Mexico, 15 min
Obāchan is Japanese. She left her native archipelago in 1941 to marry one of her compatriots, 17 years older, settled in Mexico. Through fragments of family films, manga and sequences that she has shot, Nicolasa Ruiz sculpts a complex and delicate memory landscape between the two shores of the Pacific.
The starting point of Obāchan is the story of Fuyuko Kiyota, a young Japanese woman, who left her native archipelago in 1941 for Mexico. A shashin kekkon is what took her there: a kind of remote marriage that enabled Japanese immigrants in America to find a woman in their country of origin, simply by sending a letter and a photography. So she was married with Masaki Kiyota, 17 years older than her, and had a family with him. In Obāchan, the memory of her arrival in Mexico is the entry in a recollection evoked like a visual and imaginary maelstrom. The account attempts to construct itself over waves, over flows of images: fragments of family films, original manga and sequences of a reversed journey told in the present… The film takes on the appearance of a complex and delicate collage, a dialogue between the life of Fuyuko Kiyota such as she thinks she remembers it and as Nicolasa Ruiz, the filmmaker, thinks she wants to reconstruct it. But questions necessarily remain unanswered in the face of the whirling freedom of their spirits…