Friday, December 19, 2014

Director Takes His Cue from Japan's 'Suicide Forest'

Suicide is an eerie, confounding mystery. Both when it involves famous folk like Tony Scott and Robin Williams, as well as when the act anchors a brief news item about someone you've never heard of.

For New Orleans-based filmmaker R. Todd Campbell, the specter of suicide is also the powerful framing device of his new drama The Mourning Hills. He held a first preview screening last weekend and is hosting another this Saturday December 20th in Florence, Alabama, as he awaits word from the various festivals he has submitted to.

At the center of The Mourning Hills are two sisters, Mattie (Chelsea Bryan) and Kate (Carol Jean Wells). When the siblings flee from home, they become lost in the vast wilderness of the film's title. A place where set-upon souls, including the girls' father, go to commit suicide. From Campbell's Director's Statement:

I discovered that in order for this story to work, the environment needed to be as much of a character as the people were, which led me to the story of Japan’s Aokigahara, otherwise known as "The Suicide Forest." For many years, this wilderness in Japan has been a dark destination for some people intent on ending their lives.
It's a haunting juxtaposition between the beauty of the forest and the ugliness of its reputation, and no matter how awful the real place may be, I knew that this was the kind of setting that would be essential for The Mourning Hills.

The Aokigahara is the world's second most frequent suicide spot, behind San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Although Campbell's film - shot mainly in northern Alabama - is more about the grieving process than the act itself, it will no doubt make more aware of this haunting Japanese death patch.

[The Mourning Hills]

No comments:

Post a Comment