JFLA provides high quality Japanese film screening every second and fourth Wednesday.
7:00pm at JFLA Auditorium (5700 Wilshire Blvd, #100, Los Angeles, CA 90036)
Free to attend. Reservation is not required.
Street Parking is available. http://www.jflalc.org/about-us.html#parking
*All movies are in Japanese with English subtitles. 

9/24/2014 @ 7PM

Returning as many bodies to their families as humanly possible.
That was the goal.

"REUNION"   (105 MINS, 2013)

Directed by Ryoichi Kimizuka

Following the Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, amid all the tumult and confusion, countless bodies began to be found and were carried to makeshift morgues. One such morgue was the gymnasium of the former Number 2 Middle School in Kamaishi City. Police and city officials stood in bewilderment at the numbers of corpses being brought in one after another. Many physicians of all kinds, doctors and dentists, took to the enormous task of conducting autopsies. There was no heating in the frigid gym. The physicians worked on their knees, tending to all the bodies. Some of the victims they knew, others they did not.

One man who appeared in the confusion was retired Tsuneo Aiba (Toshiyuki Nishida) who now served as a regional social worker. Prior to retirement, he had been in the funeral business, and was accustomed to handling the deceased and comforting the bereaved. Feeling therefore the need to take initiative with so many people confronting death in such volume for the first time, he convinced the mayor to allow him to volunteer at the morgue.

As city workers watched in awe, Aiba spoke gently and compassionately to each and every body that was brought in. "Treat them as if they are still alive," he said as he worked to relax the stiffened muscles of the bodies, gently extended their knees and elbows, pursed their open mouths and returned a peaceful countenance to their faces.

As they watched Aiba, other city servants gradually noticed an emotional change taking over the place.

As many bodies as humanly possible must be returned to their families. Do what must be done to ensure the departed a proper sendoff. Acquiring enough dry ice, putting together coffins, showing kindness and utmost consideration to bereaved family members and treating the deceased with care and deference; volunteers confronted the harsh realities before them, each in their own way working relentlessly to interact with the dead and their surviving family members.

The sight of Aiba and other public servants helped to soften the intense grief of the bereaved.

The resurrected crematorium in Kamaishi City couldn't handle the bodies fast enough. Many needed to be taken to crematoriums in neighboring prefectures of Aomori and Akita. At the request of family members, Aiba carefully applied makeup to the faces of the deceased.

Returning as many bodies to their families as humanly possible. That was the goal. Aiba and everyone working at the old middle school would keep on working until that task was complete.Aiba, city officials, doctors and other volunteers stood with family members as each coffin departed. Afterwards, Aiba and staff would receive heartfelt gratitude from the bereaved. And then, when the coffins had left, Aiba and the rest would return to their assumed posts.