Japan Foundation

Canadian Premiere
Documentaries from the Edge


Directed by Nao Yoshigai


Official selection

Spiral Film Festival 2021
Ulju Mountain Film Festival 2022
Ann Arbor Film Festival 2022
International Film Festival Rotterdam 2022


Lawrence Kasdan Award for Best Narrative Film, 2022 Ann Arbor Film Festival


Nao Yoshigai


Nao Yoshigai


Nao Yoshigai


Naoki Ishikawa

Sound Designer

Masaya Kitada


Daisuke Miyako


Atelier LiPP

Japan 2021 63 mins OV Japanese Subtitles : English

« Possédant un œil exceptionnel pour la composition graphique, Yoshigai fait aussi preuve d’un discernement hors pair dans le choix de ses sujets »
- Olivier Thibodeau, PANORAMA-CINÉMA

“Yoshigai has always demonstrated an understated and intuitive knowledge of the world moving around her”
- Richard Gray, THE REEL BITS

Welcome to Shari, of the Shiretoko Peninsula: a small town, located on the easternmost part of Japan’s northernmost island Hokkaido, where the Sea of Okhotsk meets with Russian shores. There, we meet a shepherd who loves to bake; hunters who love deer a few ways; and flying squirrel enthusiasts. A peculiar collector is known for his “Hall of Hidden Treasures”. We also observe the conspicuous absence of drift ice, snow and fish in this crucial season. Scarier still: the Red Thing—a monster “like a throbbing blood clot”, a sanguine yeti emblematic of a filmmaker’s own worry and frustration at all that is adrift and amiss in this city where man, folklore, and nature converge harmoniously—and where nature is now skipping a beat.

Nao Yoshigai (whose spectacular short films, such as GRAND BOUQUET, were subject of a retrospective at Fantasia in 2019) makes her feature debut with SHARI, a remarkable documentary fairy tale. Like Yoshigai’s short film works, which straddle the line between documentary, dance film, and fantasy, SHARI is multifaceted and thrilling, blending exploration of myth, wintry travelogue, climate change diary and artful intervention. It offers a unique viewpoint into one of Japan’s most secluded areas. And as Shari and its people reveal their town’s and their own history, the future of Japan’s rural areas and cultures is made clearer, if ever uncertain—as Yoshigai reminds us to look for the political in the particular. – Ariel Esteban Cayer