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Friday, Aug. 22, 2008

Special screening set for 'Fragment'

Staff Writer

"Fragment," a documentary film by the young director Makoto Sasaki that follows the journey of a young Buddhist monk will be shown on Aug. 26 in Tokyo.

Sasaki's friend, Jicchoku Inoue, born in 1977, was working as an actor and TV personality. But after visiting New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Inoue quit his job and decided to become the senior monk of the Buddhist temple run by his family in Tokyo.

Returning to Japan, he determined to become a shuhoshi, a monk entitled to conduct special rituals, and he prepared to participate in the 100-day-long winter training of the Nichiren Sect of Buddhism. Then, after he earned the shuhoshi rank, Inoue revisited New York and the memorial site where the World Trade Center towers once stood.

In the beginning, Sasaki thought he was just shooting a documentary about Inoue becoming a Nichiren monk. But as Inoue changed over the course of his hard training, part of which involved dashing cold water over himself repeatedly in winter, the world also changed.

Sasaki said on the film's Web site that he came to realize the documentary he was shooting was a "fragment" of history after 9/11 to the war in Iraq. The movie shows the history of these events through the adventures and growth of a young monk.

"This documentary does not attempt to explain all of the concepts that are shown; certain elements are left unclear. It is a fragment of the present, cut off from our lives," Sasaki said. "Thus, in some ways, the meaning is well defined. This unclear present is clearly and internationally impressed upon us."

The documentary was released in 2006 and shown in Tokyo, Osaka and Germany. The movie will be released on DVD by GP Museum Soft on Aug. 25.

The 93-minute film with English subtitles will be shown from 7 p.m. at Shibuya Uplink Factory. After the film, Sasaki and South Korean film director Kim Seung Yong, who shot a movie on Tibet, will give a talk in Japanese.

The theater is a 12-minute walk from JR Shibuya Station, close to the Tokyu Honten department store. Ticket prices are ¥1,500. For more information, call GP Museum Soft at (03) 5474-0342.

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