Thorsten Trimpop’s films explore the many ways cultural, political, and ecological histories are borne by individuals in their daily lives. His most recent feature, Furusato, exposes the devastating effects of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant meltdown on the surrounding landscape and its inhabitants. Shot over the course of four years, the film follows a media-savvy activist, a horse breeder, a teen-rocker, and a nuclear engineer for the Tokyo Electric Power Company as they struggle to cope with the fallout of the ongoing disaster. The land that had once been a source of profound physical and cultural sustenance for Japan’s eastern coast is now tainted with the invisible danger of radiation. Culminating in a traditional horse race, one that has taken place since the eighth century, but now provokes intense anxiety among inhabitants, Furusato meditates on the unfathomable sacrifices wrought in the name of progress.
2016, Japan, DCP, 90 min + discussion
Thorsten Trimpop in person
Thorsten Trimpop is a filmmaker and visual artist based in Chicago. His current film, Furusato, is a human-scale portrait of a small town in Japan’s nuclear exclusion zone. It premiered at DOK Leipzig, Germany, where it won the grand prize, the Golden Dove. His film and theater works have been presented at venues such as the Locarno Festival, Switzerland; the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Netherlands; at the Viennale, Austria; Marseille Festival of Documentary Film, France; Ann Arbor Film Festival, Michigan; Busan International Film Festival, South Korea; among others. Trimpop has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, and Boston University. From 2014 to 2017, he was a fellow at the MIT Open Documentary Lab. He is currently Assistant Professor at SAIC in the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation department, where he is working on a new feature film about the destructive human obsession with beauty.