Evil Does Not Exist: a powerful Japanese eco-drama – Asia Times

Evil Does Not Exist: a powerful Japanese eco-drama - Asia Times

Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s breakthrough cinematic masterpiece, Drive My Car ( 2021 ), won him deserved critical acclaim. The movie does a wonderful job of blending the agony of pain with the daily.

His fresh film, Evil Does Never Occur, is extremely effective in its use of juxtaposition. However, he is addressing the delicate issues of gentrification ( where wealthy people move in and replace and price locals out ), environmentalism, and the urban-rural divide. I was delighted to discover areas flourishing in the face of political and economic force.

The movie is a serene ( but occasionally on the verge of unsettling ) tale set in the small town of Mizubiki near Tokyo. Its close proximity to such a large district belies the decidedly opposite quality of life in the town.

A big company called Playmode turns community life upside down as Takumi and his daughter Hana go about doing so. This business wants to establish a glamping ( glamorous camping ) location for visitors to Mizubiki.

Glamping is typically a pricey activity for middle-class professionals who want to station but in peace, a kind of experience with nature but with all the niceties of the modern world. Consider tepees with correct beds, wood- losing stoves, toilets and more.

The business name Playmode undoubtedly attempts to work some sort of ignorance, despite what may appear innocent. The paradoxes at play these, which are durable but pleasant, and are natural but no nature, are central to Hamaguchi’s subtly philosophical analysis of the effects of business, gentrifying capitalism on traditional Japanese life and rurality.

Views from actual living

Takumi is a person of the world, embodying the island’s connection with nature. His work as a woodcutter and water-collector creates a rich mosaic of remote life’s patterns. His measurements, whether about the native flora or the nuances of woods life, appeal with the show’s understated but profound narrative style.

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A town hall meeting is held at which two corporation officials are dispatched to try to satisfy the villagers once they are all aware of the potential growth and impact on local water value, risk of wildfires, and disruption to animals. However, the two know they are infallible and are.

They are incredibly aware of the harm their business is causing to the community and their function there. This line of business straddles what social theorist Hannah Arendt characterized as” the banality of evil,” where people who unthinkingly follow orders be complicit in large-scale acts of violence.

This town hall meeting scene, in which villagers express concerns about the company’s ability to protect water quality from wildfires and the environment, is a fantastic example of how the two conflict more frequently arise between business interests and social values.

For those of us acquainted with climate engagement, especially in small communities, the city hall scene is all too common. It is well known how frustrated people are when they are confronted by business representatives who work with local officials, neither of whom are actually interested in speaking to or taking action on nearby issues. Unfortunately, it is becoming very prevalent within the context of native politics and environmental protection.

A Nebraska producer in the US in 2015 gave an excellent illustration of this type of situation by requesting a pro-fracking council to consume the tap water. On social advertising, this film is still being shared.

A changing cultural material

The invasion of Playmode is not just a risk to the island’s economic tranquility, but also to its cultural material. The company’s plans to build a tourist area in the nearby town are symbolic of bourgeois industrial growth and show disregard for the community’s way of life’s intrinsic value.

The villagers ‘ resistance, depicted by their sincere and sincere defense of their land and way of life, alludes to numerous real-world counterrevolutions against the exploitation of resources and culture. It brings to mind the recent striking images of villagers and activists in the small German village of Lützerath, where residents are being forced to leave to make room for a new coal mine.

I was also reminded of the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Pipeline in the US in 2016, where indigenous people dominated the majority of the resistance.

A subtle yet potent critique of capitalism is presented through the lens of a small, traditional village that is under the weight of contemporary economic forces. The often-underappreciated effects of economic development and the resilience of communities in the face of such challenges are beautifully captured in Hamaguchi’s film. It is a narrative that not only illustrates the existence of a single village, but also highlights the struggle to keep traditional ways of life alive and the steadfast advance of capitalism.

At Royal Holloway University of London, Professor Oli Mould teaches human geography.

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