Friday, August 18, 2006


Here is what the Los Angeles Times had to say about ABDUCTION The Megumi Yokota Story...

But perhaps the most haunting and sadly relevant of this subset of docs exploring festering psychic wounds is the extraordinary "Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story," from Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim. The story it tells is a shattering mystery of violation and loss, if only because by the end, certain answers only lead to more punishing questions.

It starts in spine-tingling detective saga fashion with the disappearance of a 13-year-old Japanese girl in 1977 but suddenly turns into an espionage tale when it's determined that the choir-singing, beach-loving Megumi was one of multiple kidnappings at the hands of North Korean spies. And when the abductees' loved ones — including Megumi's resolute, loving parents, who became national celebrities — begin to protest their country's efforts to normalize relations with Kim Jong Il, a true-crime tale of heartbreak adopts a searing political dimension, ultimately becoming a timeless exploration of the incompatibilities of personal anguish and diplomatic reality. Then there's the question of how a tragedy such as this alters and reshapes the bonds of familial love. All this is rendered with not only narrative mastery but also an exquisitely photographic and aural sense of humanity and place, of memory and the present, with lingering interstitial shots of Japan's natural beauty and its modern metropolises that play as if Ozu had directed a sobering "Frontline" report.

Perhaps it's no wonder the ghostly ache of "Abduction" — the filmmakers' poetic sense of how the missing can dominate our lives in a way they might not have had they never vanished — captured the eye of one of modern cinema's most resonant chroniclers of souls in transition: Jane Campion, who joined the project as an executive producer.


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