At Tōjinbō, Japan’s most majestic seaside cliffs, an old man strikes up conversations with people who wander the precipice alone. This sets the stage for a cinematic fable exploring what makes life worth living...or ending.
A quick Google search reveals that the cliffs of Tōjinbō have a precarious reputation – it is a place of supreme beauty, but it is also a location where many have chosen to end their lives. In this duality, the majority of attention typically veers towards the solemn. It is our intention to reverse this trend and shed light on the hope and vitality radiating from Tōjinbō.
Our film is based on the real-life efforts of retired policeman Yukio Shige who patrols the cliffs of Tōjinbō for would-be suicides. Shige’s gestures of compassion in this breathtaking locale inspire and frame our fantastical tale. While the act of taking one’s own life is a subtext pulsing through the narrative, the film is also, more importantly, about taking life into one’s own hands and living to the fullest.
Cinema, as an art form, is a means to start necessary conversations. With TŌJINBŌ, our aim is to make a timeless and timely motion picture that explores the hardships of ordinary people. In showing their stories we hope to shed light on what we believe to be the most tragic of circumstances: the simple, quiet, almost mundane happenings that shadow most of our days. The difficulties of being painfully plain. Of feeling life is being lived without meaning.
Additionally, telling a story that takes place in Japan will allow us to pay homage to two of our favorite Japanese filmmakers: Yasujirō Ozu, for his ability to unearth great truths with serenity and flawless formalism, and Shohei Imamura, Ozu’s former assistant and famous detractor, for his carnal, rebellious bursts of energy and chaos. Drawing upon the seemingly disparate approaches of these two masters, we will create a wholly unique filmic experience.
On the surface, TŌJINBŌ may seem like a dark tale of existential despair, but this would be misleading. Just beneath its somber exterior is a core that is ultimately and hopelessly hopeful. TŌJINBŌ aims to be a cinematic remedy to a universal ailment. Something to challenge the pharmaceutical solution and ostrich approach of dealing with our current collective unhappiness.
If you would like to hear more or get involved in this production, write to us →