Coming to PBS’s Independent Lens tonight, Monday, October 27: BRAKELESS
Kyoko Miyake’s exploration of a Japanese train crash debuted on the BBC this Spring. It went on to screen at Sheffield, and now makes it US debut on the popular public television strand tonight.
In the Spring of 2005, a commuter train outside Osaka derailed heading into a curve, killing the driver and over 100 passengers, and injuring hundreds more. Miyake mixes animation and interviews with passengers, family members, and railway drivers to reconstruct what happened, and looks to Japan’s history to make sense of the reason for the crash: the driver’s fear of being late and losing his job as a result. In a country obsessed with technological superiority and efficiency, an 80-second delay set in motion a tragedy affecting hundreds of lives, prompting a reconsideration of national pride in relentless productivity. Far from a dry technical analysis, Miyake’s quietly observed film returns a sense of humanity to the accident, personalizing the loss through the memories of both the bereaved and of the survivors, whose recollection of mundane details from their commute – the smile on the face of an elderly passenger, bumping into a casual acquaintance – achieve a gentle poignancy.