Marker is a 30 minute documentary which follows Director Louise Noguchi’s journey as she travels to the shrines of supposed martyred heroes in both North America, where she was born and raised, and also in Japan, where her ancestors come from.
She learns much about her culture and identity when she explores the meditative aspects of these spaces, but also when she discovers the violence which occurred historically in these same spaces. Along her quest, she is able to go on tours of the shrines, gain knowledge from expert historians, interview other interested visitors who feel extremely connected to these spaces, recount stories of several slain Jesuits, as well as historical Japanese figures who committed ritual suicides. She also bares witness to a rally protesting a site’s tribute to Japan’s militaristic past, which is a great visual contrast to the peaceful scenery of churches and memorials we see throughout most of the film.
In this well-directed and visually pleasing documentary, Noguchi re-defines these peaceful shrines by exposing the shocking historical facts. Noguche’s soothing voice, which narrates the entirety of the film, is effective and fitting as she discusses the peaceful sentiments behind each shrine. However, it is also used as a powerful juxtaposition when she is describing the horrific violence which took place at these now seemingly peaceful shrines.
Marker will screen before One Big Hapa Family at Innis Town Hall on Sunday, November 14th at 4:45pm as part of the Reel Asian Film Festival.