In the Japanese city of Matsuyama, on the island of Shikoku, an astonishing religious ritual is performed every fall. Eight different teams, all consisting of only men, carry extremely heavy wooden Shinto shrines, which they then crash against one another with great force. Men stand on top of the shrines, trying as hard as they can not to fall off. The team whose shrine falls down first, loses. The roughness of the ritual is said to symbolize the wildness of the gods. Uzu provides a carefully framed impression of this ritual. We see the teams practicing, the painstaking preparations, the rising tension and the final confrontation before a rapt audience. The ritual is so violent that there are injuries among all the teams. The subjective camera positioning – often on top of or even in the shrines – and the striking use of light and dark make this film an intense, almost physical viewing experience.
Koji Tsujimoto for Jingumae Produce
Kentaro Akiya, Mirai Osawa, Kenta Tawara