Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival

Programme (2020)

ITO – A Diary of an Urban Priest (2020)

Cinema as sutra, ITO – A Diary of an Urban Priest exists in a rarefied realm of aching spirituality and thwarted religious aspiration, echoing Robert Bresson’s classic “Diary of a Country Priest” while elevating nonfiction to the level of pure art. Uncompromising, visionary work by Finland’s Pirjo Honkasalo is an elusive, challenging and cerebral study of boxer-turned-Buddhist Yoshinobu Fujioka, and as such, its commercial appeal will likely be limited. Reviews, on the other hand, might just be rapturous, and “Ito” marks a substantial addition to one of the world’s more considerable doc-ographies.

Honkasalo frames her story with ancient Japanese myth, employing ornate subtitles, hallucinatory visuals, dreams and night shots of a Japan that ripples with shadows and greasy neon. But the truly hypnotic content lies in the conversations, which are lengthy but mesmerizing, accessible and intimate, and suggest that the world is inescapable and tragic, and that our salvation lies solely in our yearnings.

Tech credits are first-rate, especially the sound and the camerawork of Honkasalo and Marita Hällforss.

John Anderson, Variety

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Film Title : ITO – Seitti – Kilvoittelijan päiväkirja
Language : japani, englanti
Director : Pirjo Honkasalo
Year : 2009
Length : 118
Age limit : K7
Format : 35 mm
Cinematographer : Pirjo Honkasalo, Marita Hällfors
Editing : Pirjo Honkasalo
Music : Toshiro Mayuzumi, Ushio Torikai
Producer : Kristiina Pervilä
Production Company : Millennium Film Oy, AVEK

Screenings :
Sat 1.2. at 11.30, Orion