Vault Shorts #10 (Digger, Nanachan, The Snow King)

The tenth entry in the column deals with Japanese shorts

Digger (2017) By Kengo Yagawa (15.3 Minutes)


There is a fierce competition going on every night in the woods, a secret ritualistic meeting of disenfranchised businessmen. Each armed with a shovel, their challenge is to dig for as long as they can. The nightly competition attracts a nameless and silent protagonist, an office worker who spends his days fantasizing about the act of digging. He must face some fierce competition in order to make it to the top and beat the man who silently watches over the event.

"Digger" is an example that in the world of the absurd, anything can become a competition. This short film, which features no dialogue and a lot of digging is more fun in execution than concept. The late night rituals the men perform in the short makes it feel as if this is just an event that has been and always will be, steeped in a deep tradition with synchronized dances and an unspoken language that you have to dig to prove your worth. Although it is hard to imagine this drawn out into a feature length, as a short film it is very successful at creating this odd, funny yet endearing culture of a bunch of businessmen digging holes in the middle of the forest while being cheered on by their peers. "Digger" is a comedic gem with an ideal runtime that is bound to entertain audiences.

Nanachan (2018) By Tatsuya Nishimoto (20.2 Minutes)


Two outcasts who enjoy spending their time talking about sex and making crude jokes, find themselves interested in a fellow graduating student in "Nana-chan". When one of the boys decides to make a move on her before they part ways after graduating, he professes his love by offering to fulfill a disgusting act. 

"Nanachan" offers up some good comedic moments with oddly scripted character interactions and an entertaining yet disturbing conclusion. The comedic element seems to come more from the absurdity of the characters' actions and dialogue, but the interactions don't seem realistic, making "Nanachan" feel more like an absurd comedy, and within that definition, it falls short of being consistently entertaining. 

For the majority of the film, the interactions just feel awkward and not in the way that you can derive humor from; stilted, forced and unrealistic. I normally don't comment on the quality of subtitles, but to ensure to not sell the content short, the subtitles on the short provided had many errors, noticeable through grammar and word choice, and a lot of the humor may have been lost in translation. The act of trying to figure out what was actually being said, obviously added to any frustrations I already had with the film.

The Snow King (1993) By Shunji Iwai (22.3 Minutes)


Once living with aspirations of becoming a famous idol, a woman named Yasuko finds herself in debt. In order to keep living the life, she has become accustomed to, Yasuko begins to take out large loans which only further add to her financial worries. She hides her debt from her partner whom she is trying to build a life with. After a pregnancy scare though, she is forced to face her boyfriend and her debt to try to live a reasonable life.

Aired on TV as part of a series, the quality is what you would expect for a made for TV short film. The structure of the film is also reminiscent of a TV program, first showcasing itself as a documentary on the struggles modern day adults face when it comes to financial problems in an unstable economy. The film evolves pretty quickly into more of a character piece and we learn about Yasuko's past, and how her ambitions have become stagnant and she finds herself struggling to get by while being slowly overwhelmed by increasing debt. Her story does not just act as a cautionary tale but builds a very sympathetic and relatable tale. Shunji Iwai has would go on to critical success with films such as "Bride for Rip Van Winkle" and "All About Lily Chou-Chou" and coming across his earlier work will deepen the appreciation for his latest efforts. Being restricted by budget and time, it is not his most memorable work, but it has a certain charm which is very engaging.

COMMENTS

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13 Assassins,1,2017,3,A Company Man,1,A few words about us,1,A Lonely Cow Weeps at Dawm,1,A Love,1,A Man Vanishes,1,A Simple Life,1,A Single Rider,1,A Stone from Another Mountain to Polish Your Own Stone. Go Shibata,1,A Tale of Love,1,A Whale of a Tale,1,About Elly,1,Adam J. Symchuk,20,Adam John,6,Aditya Vikram Sengupta,1,Adriana Rosati,4,Age of Innocence,1,Akihiko Shiota,1,Akira Kurosawa,1,Akiyuki Shinbo,1,Ale Amout,1,Alex Oost,1,Alexander Knoth,1,Ali Asghar Vadayeh Kheiri,1,Amir Masoud Aghababeian,1,Amitabh Reza,1,Anand Singh,2,Andrew Thayne,4,Andy Willis,1,Anime,1,Animesh Aich,1,Ann Hui,1,Anna Bliss,3,Anshul Chauhan,2,Anurag Basu,1,Aqerat,1,Arang,1,Ariyuki Shinbo,1,Armour of God,1,Arrow,2,Art Film Fest Kosice,1,Article Films,1,Asghar Farhadi,1,Asha Jaoar Majhe,1,Asian Classics,19,Aya Itabe,1,Aynabaji,1,Bad Poetry Tokyo,4,BAMY,1,Bangkok Nites,1,Bangladesh,3,Banjong Pisanthanakun,1,Banmei Takahashi,1,Before We Vanish,1,Behind the Camera,1,Belgium,1,Ben Stykuc,5,Bengal,1,Bhutan,1,Billy Joe,2,Black,1,Bloody Muscle Builder in Hell,1,Bollywood,1,Branded to Kill,2,Breathless,1,Burma,1,Burning Birds,2,Bystanders,1,Cambodia,2,Camera Japan,10,Children Heaven,1,China,6,Chinese Policy Institute,6,Chinese Visual Festival,1,Choi Jin-ho,1,Choi Jin-won,1,Chris Berry,1,Chu Yuan,1,Chungking Express,1,Close-Knit,1,Coffeemates,1,Colette Balmain,7,Competition,1,Confessions,1,Creative Visions: Hong Kong Cinema,1,Crocodile,1,Crows Zero,1,Cyrano Agency,1,Daguerreotype,1,Daigo Matsui,1,Daisuke Gotô,2,Daisuke Miyazaki,3,David Chew,3,David Chew.,1,David Shin,1,Ddongpari,1,Dead Friend,1,Dead Sushi,1,Deadly Outlaw: Rekka,1,Deepak Rauniyar,1,Destruction Babies,1,Diary of June,1,Digger,1,Ding Shen,1,Dismembered,1,Documentaries,6,Documentary,2,Doenjang,1,Don Anelli,18,Double Life,1,Dr. Heo,1,drama,1,Duelist,1,East Winds Film Festival,1,Edmund Yeo,3,Educating Yuna,1,Eiji Uchida,1,Emmanuel Horlaza,1,Erotic Diary of an Office Lady,1,Eureka,2,Exploitation,25,Fabricated City,1,Faye Wong,1,Features,18,Feautures,1,Fel,8,Festivals,5,Filmdoo,6,Fireworks,1,Fireworks Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?,1,Five Flavors Festival,2,Five Flavours Festival,3,Flying Fish,1,Forgetting Vietnam,1,France,1,Fraser Elliott,1,Funeral Parade of Roses,1,Fuyuhiko Nishi,1,Gillian Anderson,1,Golden Horse Awards,1,Good -Bye Silence,1,Goro Miyazaki,1,Hanagatami,1,Hanuman,1,Hashiguchi Takaaki,1,Haunters,1,Helsinki Cine Aasia Festival 2018,1,Hidden Gems,34,Hideo Sakaki,1,High-Kick Girl,1,Hindi,1,Hirokazu Koreeda,3,Hiroshi Ando,1,Hiroshi Teshigahara,1,Hong Kong,4,Horror,2,I Wish,1,I-Lin Liu,8,ICA,3,Im Kyeong-soo,1,Imran Firdaus,1,In this Corner of the World,3,Indonesia,4,Interview,1,Interviews,23,Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan,1,Inugami,1,Iran,7,Ishmael Bernal,1,Isora Iwakiri,1,Jackie Chan,2,Jagga Jasoos,1,James Mudge,1,Japan,117,Japan Cuts,14,Japan Filmfest Hamburg,1,Japanese Film Festival Australia,1,Jeong Jae-eun,1,Jess Teong,1,Jimmy Henderson,2,Jithin K Mohan,1,Joe Odagiri,2,Johnnie To,1,Joko Anwar,1,Jonathan Wilson,6,Joo Ji-hong,1,Journey of the Tortoise,1,Jun Tanaka,1,Jung Yoon-suk,1,Junichi Kajioka,1,Junpei Mizusaki,1,K-dramas,12,Kaneto Shindo,1,Kang Je-gyu,1,Kang Yoon-Sung,1,Katsuya Tomita,1,kdrama,1,Kei Chikaura,1,Kei Ishikawa,1,Kengo Yagawa,1,Kenichi Ugana,1,Kill me,1,Killing Beauty,1,Kim Eun-hee,1,Kim Hong-seon,1,Kim Hyun-seok,1,Kim Jee-woon,1,Kim Ki-duk,1,Kim Kih-hoon,1,Kim Min Su kII,1,Kim Min-suk,1,Kim Tae-kyeong,1,Kingyo,2,Kirti Raj Singh,1,Kiss me,1,Kiyoshi Kurosawa,3,Koji Wakamatsu,1,Komiya Masatetsu,1,Kon Ichikawa,1,Konrad Aderer,1,Korea,1,korean drama,1,Krzysztof Pietrzak,1,Kun-Yu Lai,2,Kwak Kyung-taek,1,Kyoko Miyake,1,Kyriacos Kyriacou,2,Lady Snowblood,2,Laos,1,Lee Je-Yong,1,Lee Joo-young,1,Lee Jung-sun,1,Lee Myung-se,1,Lee Seo-goon,1,Leung Wing-Fai,1,Like Father,1,Like Son,1,Lim Sang-yoon,1,Lists,11,Little Big Soldier,1,Live Up To Your Name,1,Loi Bao,1,Los Angeles Indian Festival,1,Love,1,Lovers Are Wet,1,Lowlife Love,1,Lyberis,2,Madman,1,Mahde Hasan,1,Majid Majidi,1,Makoto Shinkai,1,Malaysia,5,Maria Georgiou,18,Mark Gallagher,1,Masaki Adachi,1,Masanori Tominaga,1,Masaru Konume,1,Masato Harada,1,Masatoshi Kurakata,1,Matt Cooper,9,Matthew D. Johnson,1,Maundy Thursday,1,Mermaid,1,Midi Z,1,Midori Impuls,3,Milk the Maid,1,Minoru Kunizawa,1,Miwa Nishikawa,1,Mohammad-Reza Lotfi,1,Mongolia,1,Moon Lovers,1,Mototsugu Watanabe,4,Movie,1,Mr. Socrates,1,My Dad and Mr Ito,1,My Hero Chihiro,1,Myanmar,1,Nanachan,1,Naoko Ogigami,1,Naomi Kawase,1,Naosuke Kurosawa,1,Naoyuki Tomomatsu,3,Neko Atsume House,1,Nepal,1,New Neighbor,2,News,1,Nicholas Poly,3,Nikola Cekic,1,Niwatsukino Norihiro,1,Noboru Iguchi,1,Nobuhiko Obayashi,2,Nobuhiro Yamashita,2,Nobuo Nakagawa,1,Nobuyuki Takeuchi,1,Noise,2,Non-fiction Diary,1,Norman England,2,Nurse Diary: Beast Afternoon,1,NYAFF,7,Nyamdavaa Baasansuren,1,Oh In-Chun,1,Old Boy,2,Omar Rasya Joenoes,3,On The Line Festival,2,Ophilia,1,Orson McClellan Mochizuki,1,Osaka Asian Film Festival,4,Osamu Sato,1,Our Happy time,1,Over the Fence,1,Pai Kau,1,Palatpol Mingpornpichit,1,Panos Kotzathanasis,57,Park Chan-wook,2,Park Ki- hyung,1,Park Kwang-hyun,1,Parkpoom Wongpoom,1,Pedro Morata,3,Peerachai Kerdsint,1,Pen-Ek Ratanaruang,1,Peng Xiaolian,1,Peque Gallaga,1,Philippines,1,Pieter - Jan Van Haecke,3,Pieter-Jan Van Haecke,7,Pink Eiga,14,PinkEiga.TV,6,pinku eiga,1,Psychic,1,Pumpkin and Mayonnaise,1,Rabbit and Lizard,1,Railway Sleepers,1,Raja Mukhriz,1,Randy Mckenzie,3,Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead,1,Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead 2,1,Red Persimmons,1,Rei Sakamoto,1,Reipu zonbi: Lust of the dead 3,1,Reviews,64,Reviews.,1,River of Exploding Durians,2,Roger Lee,1,Ronja,1,Ryu Kaneda,1,Ryuki,1,S. Korea,20,S.Korea,1,Saayak Santra,2,San Diego Asian Film Festival,3,Sanjeewa Pushpakumara,2,Sankha Ray,6,Satan's Slaves,1,Satoshi Kon,1,Say Yes,1,Sayandeep Bandyopadhyay,2,Scarlet Heart,1,Score,1,Sea Fog,1,Seijun Suzuki,3,Sexy S.W.A.T. Team,1,Shake Rattle and Roll,1,Shaw Brothers,1,She's the Boss,1,Shift,1,Shigeru Umebayashi,1,Shikhar Verma,3,Shikhar Verna,2,Shim Sung-Bo,1,Shinichi Fukazawa,1,Shinji Iwai,1,Shinji Sômai,1,Shinjuku Swan,1,Shinjuku Triad Society,1,Shinsuke Ogawa,1,Shinya Tsukamoto,2,Shôhei Imamura,1,Shoot for the Contents,1,Shorts,8,Shuna Iijima,1,Shutter,1,Siddiq Ahamed,1,Sidi Saleh,1,Signature,1,Sinophone,1,Sion Sono,4,Sixth Sense Hooker,1,Sogo Ishii,1,Soichi Umezawa,1,Sompot Chidgasompongse,2,Song Hae-sung,1,Song of the Week,19,Sopawan Boonnimitra,1,South Korea,15,Sri Lanka,2,Still the Water,1,Strange Circus,1,Studio Ghibli,1,StudioCanal,3,Subenja Pongkorn,1,Suffering of Ninko,1,Suicide Club,1,Sunao Katabuchi,3,Sung-hong Kim,1,Susumu Hirasawa,1,Tadashi Nagayama,1,Tae Guk Gi,1,Takaaki Hashiguchi,1,Takashi Miike,4,Take Care of My Cat,1,Takuro Nakamura,2,Tatsumi Kumashiro,1,Tetsuo the Iron Man,1,Tetsuya Mariko,1,Tetsuya Nakashima,1,Thailand,7,That's It,1,The Bad,1,The Boy and the Beast,2,The boy from Ipanema,1,The Crawler in the Attic,1,The Dollhouse,1,The elephant and the sea,2,The Executioner,1,The Forest Whispers,1,The Good,1,The Inugami Family,1,The Isthmus,1,The Kid from the Big Apple,1,The King of Pigs,1,The Man Without a Map,1,The Muse,1,The Naked Island,1,The Night of the Earthquake,1,The Outlaws,1,The recipe,1,The Road Home,1,The Road to Mandalay,1,the Robber's Daughter,1,The Room,1,The Sacrament,1,The Salesman,1,The Snow King,1,The Sower,2,The Story of the Disappearance of Maryam,1,The Strange Saga of Hiroshi the Freeloading Sex Machine,1,The Suicide Chain,1,The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue,1,The Weird,1,Tôkaidô Yotsuya kaidan,1,Tokyo Heaven,1,Tokyo Idols,1,Tokyo Vampire Hotel,1,Tolerance Film Festival,1,Tom Waller,1,Tony Leung,1,Toronto International Film Festival,1,Toshiaki Toyoda,1,Toshio Matsumoto,1,Toshiya Fujita,1,Traces of Sin,1,Train to Busan,1,Tran Ham,1,Trinh T. Minh-Ha,3,Twilight Dinner,1,Twitch: You Are My Toy,1,Uncovered,1,Vampire Clay,1,various,2,Victor Vu,1,Vietnam,2,Vikram Zushi,1,Violated Angels,1,Vital,1,West North West,2,Whispering Corridors,1,White Sun,1,Whore Angel,1,Wiman Rizkidarajat,1,Without Memory,1,Wol-Ha: Very Bad Moon Rising,1,Woman of the Lake,1,Woo Ming Jin,1,Yamato (California),3,Yang Ik-june,1,Yang Jong-hyeon,1,Yeon Sang-ho,2,Yiu-wai Chu,1,Yoshishige Yoshida,1,Yoshitaka Mori,1,Yoshiyuki Kishi,1,Yosuke Takeuchi,2,Yotsuya kaidan,1,Your Name,1,Yu Aoi,2,Yu Irie,1,Yûji Tajiri,2,Yuki Tanada,1,Yusaku Matsumoto,2,Yutaka Ikejima,3,Yuya Ishii,1,Zen,1,Zhang Yimou,1,Zoo,1,Zuairijah Mou,1,
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Asian Film Vault: Vault Shorts #10 (Digger, Nanachan, The Snow King)
Vault Shorts #10 (Digger, Nanachan, The Snow King)
The tenth entry in the column deals with Japanese shorts
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Asian Film Vault
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