Video: "The Valley Of Dolls" by Ayano Tsukimi
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
The village of Nagoru is located on the island of Shikoku, the smallest island in terms of area and population of the four largest in Japan. In recent years, the village has been slowly but surely emptying: young people are leaving to work in Osaka or Tokyo, and there are fewer and fewer old people. Now there are only a few dozen people left in Nagora. Ayano Tsukimi is 64 years old. She returned to her native village 11 years ago and during this time inhabited it with a whole army of hand-sewn dolls, similar to people who no longer live there.
In the documentary The Valley Of Dolls, Tsukumi shows his world to Berlin-based director Fritz Schumann. She says that it all started when she needed a scarecrow, because the seeds planted in the garden did not sprout. She made him look like her father, and from here came the idea to "recreate" everyone who once lived in the village. Partly to attract new people. “I thought people would be interested and stop to take a photo if I put the dolls at the entrance to the valley,” Tsukimi says. "They work for me in the field or are waiting for the bus."
The heroine of the film adds that she is not interested in making "strange" dolls. Her printed creations should organically fit into the landscape, like their living prototypes. Tsukimi makes dolls from straw, rags and old clothes. Now she has more than 350 on her account. Faces are difficult for her, except for grandmothers, grandmother is her strong point.
Tsukimi's plan to attract attention to the village was a great success. Thanks to her creative marathon last year, Nagoru made it to the list of travel destinations in Japan. But even dolls do not live in Nagora for more than three years, so Tsukimi constantly has to make new and new ones. So she lives in a disappearing village, surrounded by lifeless figures, but does not think about old age or about giving up her occupation. At one point in the film, reflecting on the fact that people are mortal, she says with a chuckle: "I will probably live forever."
And yet there is something sinister in her dolls, and in the very idea. It is not for nothing that photographer Vera Zaltsman believes that old children's dolls are capable of causing the effect that Freud called "the ominous valley."
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