UCCA Beijing

Observational Film: Documentaries by Kazuhiro Soda

2013.11.29 - 2013.12.1

Cinema Arts
Location:  UCCA Art Cinema
Language:  Screening: In Japanese with English and Chinese subtitles, Talk: In Japanese with Chinese interpretation

About this program

The concept of observational film is rooted in the 1960s American Direct Cinema movement. According to this theory, a filmmaker should depict the crude reality captured on camera, encouraging viewers to form their own opinions about the images they see with minimal interference from the filmmaker. Japanese director Kazuhiro Soda is known for his observational style of documentary filmmaking. His works often depict important issues in Japanese society with a detached, minimalist naturalism.

In cooperation with the Hangzhou Asian Film Festival, UCCA will present five observational films by renowned Japanese director Kazuhiro Soda.

Campaign (2007) depicts the political campaign of Kazuhiko Yamauchi, an inexperienced candidate officially endorsed by the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan.

Mental (2008) focuses on patients in Chorale Okayama, a small, outpatient mental health clinic.

Soda’s documentary Peace (2010) captures the lives of people with disabilities and cats in Okayama, Japan.

In 2009, Soda started shooting Theater 1 and Theatre 2 (2012), a documentary series about playwright and theater director Oriza Hirata and his company, Seinendan.

Soda will attend the UCCA screenings. UCCA will also host a talk on his experience as a filmmaker and a series of Q & A sessions.

About the director

Kazuhiro Soda is an award-winning Japanese documentary filmmaker based in New York since 1993.

He has published several books, including Mental Illness and Mosaic, The Reason Why I Make Documentaries, and Theatre vs. Film - Can a Documentary Capture Fiction?

Kazuhiro Soda’s film Campaign received the Best Documentary Award at the Belgrade International Documentary Film Festival in 2008. His Theatre 1 and Theatre 2 won the Young Jury's Prize at the Festival des 3 Continents in 2012. Mental premiered at the Busan International Film Festival in 2008, winning the BIFF Mecenat Award for best documentary from an Asian filmmaker. Other awards include a Special Jury Mention at the 2009 Miami International Film Festival, an Outstanding Documentary Award at the 2009 Hong Kong International Film Festival, and the Interreligious Jury Prize at Visions du Réel in 2009. Peace was selected as the opening film for the DMZ Korean International Documentary Festival in September 2010. The film also won the Audience Award at Tokyo Filmex, the Best Documentary Award at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and the Buyens-Chagoll Prize at Visions du Réel.

Screening Schedule


19:00 Campaign + Q & A with director


14:00 Peace + Q & A with director

16:00 Talk | Kazuhiro Soda: From Observational Film to Theater (Free Entry)

19:00 Mental + Q & A with director


13:30 Theatre 1

16:45 Theatre 2 + Q & A with director


Hangzhou Asian Film Festival (HAFF)

Supported by

The Japan Foundation