Special Feature: Pathways to Directing Commercial Films

Bare Essence of Life

7.19 (Fri) 17:30 Audio Visual Hall


Director: Satoko YOKOHAMA
Cast: Kenichi MATSUYAMA, Kumiko ASO, Seiji NOZOE, ARATA, Yumiko FUJITA, Yoshio HARADA, Misako WATANABE
Distributor: Little More Co., Ltd.

2009 / Japan / 120min.
The film will be screened in 35mm print.


The quirky Yojin Mizuki lives and farms alone in remote Aomori, until he falls in love for the first time with Machiko, a nursery school teacher from Tokyo. One day something happens to Yojin’s body while he plays in the fields that triggers a sequence of unbelievable situations. Bare Essence of Life is the commercial debut of director Satoko Yokohama, recipient of numerous awards including the Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award for German Plus Rain (06). Kenichi Matsuyama—who, like the director, is also from Aomori—won best leading actor accolades at both the Mainichi Film Awards and the Takasaki Film Festival for his performance as Yojin. The film features several young actors, including Kumiko Aso as Machiko, Seiji Nozoe (who leads the Haegiwa theater company) as Yojin’s childhood friend, and Arata as Machiko’s ex-boyfriend, with support from veterans Misako Watanabe, Yoshio Harada, and Yumiko Fujita. The film is also deeply committed to an authentic depiction of Aomori and the local dialect of Tsugaru, and features a host of local child and adult actors in vividly portraying director Yokohama’s own unique perspective on the world.  

監督:Satoko YOKOHAMA

Director: Satoko YOKOHAMA

Film Director. Enrolled at The Film School of Tokyo after graduating from university. Her graduation project, Chiemi And Kokkunpatcho (05), was well-received, and Yokohama received support from Cineastes Organization Osaka to create the medium-length film German Plus Rain (06). Receiving the Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award in 2007, she then made her commercial film debut in 2009 with Bare Essence of Life, starring Kenichi Matsuyama. She released Ito in 2021, for which she received numerous awards. Yokohama directed several episodes of A Town Without Seasons (written by Kankuro Kudo), currently distributed by Disney+. She has a new feature film scheduled for release in 2025.