14th DMZ Docs(2022)
I AM DOCU
Iriomote Island, is where the miners from Taiwan and Korea were forcibly conscripted during the Japanese Colonial Period. A 90-year-old grandmother, Hashima, still lives in this island, is one of the few survivors who knows the full story of the mining town known as the “Green Jail.” The camera captures the daily life of Hashima living in an old house, portraying the secrets of her family. Her memories of guilt, pain and anger are the undocumented voices of the colonial history.
On Iriomote Island, Okinawa, there is a coal mine that shut down a long time ago. In colonial times, forcibly conscripted miners from Taiwan and Joseon suffered from hard labor and malaria here, earning it the notoriety of the “green jail”. Green Jail is a documentary by director HUANG Yin-Yu, who was there for the last four years of an old resident Hashima and weaves her memories with the history of the island. Hashima, who lives alone in her old wooden house, shares her memories to the director who had stepped into her life: from the time she moved from Taiwan when she was ten, being abandoned by her father and living with a step family, to not returning to her home country after the war, and her life afterwards. The story of Hashima and her family is a story of life on the margins created by history, not belonging to either Taiwan or Japan. Director HUANG Yin-Yu does not easily melt the story into a dense historical context. Just as the daily life of a lonely old lady is nestled in a lush tropical landscape, her memories are conveyed to the audience in their unique texture. Green Jail is an extremely delicate and emotional tribute to a forgotten and excluded life.
Huang Yin-yu is a Japan-based Taiwanese filmmaker. Based in Okinawa, he produces documentaries and participates in international film projects. He’s one of the “Emerging Producers 2020” of Ji.hlava IDFF as Taiwanese representative, and he’s the festival director of Cinema at Sea IFF.