Magino Story – Raising Silkworms
Japan / 1977 / Color / 112 min / 16mm
In Japanese with English Subtitles
The film opens with an old woman recounting a folk tale concerning silkworms (she called them “honorable worms”), in which the Magino silkworms were seen as the reincarnation of a vanished princess, and as messengers of the gods. In the folk tale it was said that the pattern on the bodies of the silkworms was the same as the hoof print of the horce that protected the princess.

This introduction draws us into the world of raising silkworms. Ogawa and his staff spinned out a film from the process of actually raising silkworms themselves, under the direction of Kimura Sato, a woman who had spent half of her life with the silkworms. The film shows us in exquisite detail the process involved: from the birth of the silkworms in the spring, through the selection of mulberry leaves for their food and the repeated shedding of their skins as they grew, to the cocoons that they made in time for autumn.

Along with Ogawa and his staff, we come to share the same sense of “time” as Sato’s, who had spent many years with the silkworms. This time they spent with Sato, in particular, formed the basis of the opened attitude that Ogawa demonstrated in his later films after moving to Magino and working as both filmmaker and farmer. (From the catalogue of Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2001)

agnès b. CINEMA  
15/11/2011(Tue) 7:30PM