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OVERSTAY

(1998)  color, TRT 73:45 mins, documentary.

Languages: Japanese, Urdu, Farsi, Tagalog, Spanish, English

Overstay is a timely and intimate exploration of the lives of foreign migrant workers in Japan. Four sets of young people from Iran, Pakistan, Peru and the Philippines tell their unique stories--why they came to Japan and how they have adjusted to an unusually insular and traditional society. The filmmakers had an extraordinary degree of access to the workers' lives: Overstay follows migrants at work and at play, trying to make a new life while homesick for a familiar culture.

 

More than 10 years have passed since the first waves of international migrants arrived in Japan. There are frequent immigration raids.  Many workers have no papers or have overstayed their visas. Japanese attitudes toward foreign workers range from suspicion to resentment to support. Jobs have grown tighter. How do immigrants survive? Overstay probes the legal, cultural, racial, and class biases that these new residents struggle to overcome. Viewers are challenged to question and rethink their preconceptions about the nature of international migration and the social and economic factors that propel young people to move far from home, often leaving spouses and children to seek work in foreign countries.

 

Stylistically, Overstay combines beautifully composed 16mm imagery with intimate Hi-8 video footage, emphasizing the contrast between the formalized issues and the lived reality. Music accompanying the film comes from around the world: Afro-Peruvian artist Susana Baca's "Maria Landó," the Peruvian-Okinawan group Diamantes' "Daijyoubu" and "Ganbateando," "Balita" by Asin, "Jing Jing" by Shoukichi Kina, "Gambarou" by Soul Flower Union and "Age Ye Rooz" by Faramarz Aslani.

 

The film features Sally Abalos, Hassan Amiri, Mohd. Mujahid Cheema, M. Nasir Mughalquereshi, Ashraf Ali Sheak, and Hikari Yagi.

 

Credits

Producer, director, editor, writer . . . . . . . . . . . . Ann Kaneko

Director of photography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jennifer Jew

Production sound. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yamamoto Hiroaki

Sound design  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dane A. Davis

Original music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cristian Amigo, Ed Barguiarena

Videographer  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ann Kaneko

 

The film was funded with grants from the Japan Foundation and the Hoso Bunka Foundation. The film screened at the Festival International du Film d'Amiens, Feminale, the Fukuoka Asian Film Festival and many other domestic and international film festivals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     “Overstay is a warm, embracing work of subtlety, compassion and implicit irony.”

 

                     - Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

     “. . . an affecting documentary of what it means to adapt--or not--to a strange, new way of life.”    

 

                    - Nicole Campos, LA Weekly

        “Overstay offers an American audience a very sensitive and compelling look into the lives of foreign migrant workers in Japan, and more importantly, a chance to reflect upon issues regarding migration in this country.”     

 

                   - Gary Mukai, Director

                     Stanford Program on International and Cross-cultural Education

 

For questions about the film or purchasing for academic or personal use,

please contact Ann here.

 

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