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Year: 1991

Classification: G

Runtime: 57 min

Produced In: USA

Directed By: Lucille Carra

Produced By: Brian Cotnoir, Lucille Carra

Language: English narration

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Over 30 years ago, Donald Richie took a journey through Japan's Inland Sea, exploring a way of life that was even then fast disappearing. His book on that journey is a classic of the travel genre - witty, wise and perceptive. Lucille Carra's film re-creates the same journey through the beautiful landscapes of sea, sky and island, but she uses only Richie's voice as narrator - he does not appear. THE INLAND SEA is a rich and hypnotic essay on Japan and its changes.

"There is a wonderfully personal sort of travel film - the memoir or essay - that is still very rare in the cinema. In this special type of film, the author or narrator's ideas share equal billing with the surprises of the landscape.

THE INLAND SEA is a remarkably engaging example and no wonder. The narrator - acute reflective and prickly - is Donald Richie whose books on Japanese cinema and culture act as most Westerners' introduction to Japan, and the scenic route taken by the film follows the beautiful coast around Japan's Inland Sea, as well as exploring the small islands it contains.

THE INLAND SEA is a nearly landlocked body of water ... The people of the Inland Sea may be the last of the 'old' Japan, the remnants of one of the 'real' nation; unhurried, tied to the valley-like sea garden, in tune with the times of day and rhythms of the seasons. yet industrial development still threatens, encroaches and devours. The film is not a cautionary tale but a subtle observation of a natural paradise that the force of life will soon turn commonplace. THE INLAND SEA is a rich and often wistful film of discovery and reflection gracefully directed by Lucille Carra." - Laurence Kardish, 1992 Sundance Film Festival.

"Invigorating, exuberant, vivid, fascinating." - New York Times.

  • WINNER! Best Documentary, 1991 Hawaii Film Festival
  • WINNER! 1993 National Geographic Society Earthwatch Award

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