Now is the Past - My Father, Java & the Phantom Films
- Ise / JP, 2021 / 89 min.
During World War II, Japanese film editor Chounosuke Ise made countless propaganda films in Japanese-occupied Indonesia. His son, Shinichi Ise, followed in his father’s footsteps; the latter seldom referring to the war in Indonesia and his work there.
Editor Chounosuke Ise made countless propaganda films in Japanese-occupied Indonesia. Their objective was to justify Japan’s hegemony in Asia: Japan claimed to have freed the region from colonialism. His son, filmmaker Shin-ichi Ise, follows in his father’s footsteps; the latter almost never speaking of the past.
His journey leads him to the forced-labour constructed film studios in Jakarta, to eyewitnesses who can remember the Japanese military police’s atrocities and women who, at the time, fled from rapists.
In the meantime, the propaganda films, some 130 in total, proved to have been preserved in the Netherlands. There Ise can finally watch his father’s propaganda films – about Japan’s malaria-abatement programme and the work of railway workers, for instance. The digitised versions can currently be found at Beeld en Geluid. ‘Why did he make them?’ he wonders. And what would he have done had he been in his father’s position?
Ima wa Mukashi
Revolusi! at the Rijksmuseum and Revolusi! at Eye: both institutions will introduce you to the Indonesian war of decolonisation. The film museum will screen a programme of Indonesian ‘battle films’ of which some have never been seen in the Netherlands before.
Planning on having a drink or a bite to eat? Book online for Eye Bar Restaurant.
Share your love for film and become a member of the Eye Society.