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My Soul Drifts Light Upon A Sea Of Trees

Documentary, 2018, 93 min.

Zen priest Ittetsu Nemoto lost an uncle and two friends to suicide. It left him with deep emotional scars, and he decided to start an online support group for people with suicidal thoughts. Nowadays, he receives them in person at his temple.

The priest’s holistic approach—incorporating singing, dancing, meditation and walking in the bamboo garden—seems to have a therapeutic effect. Despite the taboos surrounding suicide in Japan, his visitors speak candidly about what was going on in their lives that made them long for death so intensely. Their harrowing stories are only bearable because we can see that for a large part they’ve managed to get their lives back on track—thanks to the inspirational and broadminded priest Nemoto. Kana spent many self-destructive years in the sex industry, and she now works as a self-employed masseur.

Each painful story paints an intriguing picture of what life on the edge can look like. Together, the portraits form a quiet plea for a broader view on the treatment of suicidal behavior.

won prizes

  • NL - Amsterdam International Docu Film Festival IDFA selection

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Cinematographer - DoP



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