Film Review: A Woman of The Butcher Shop
Through the daily story of a woman butcher, ‘A Woman of The Butcher Shop” (2017) presenting the forgotten narration about Okinawa. The narration that oftenly so tense in telling about history of Okinawa, after apocalyptic fear, development, and greediness.
Before, these alternative narration is so close with Chikako Yamashiro’s creations as the director. Say it “Okinawa Tourist” (2001), first ever vide project of Yamashiro that was trying to catch the irony behind the sweetness of US Military Base construction in Okinawa and how local wisdom is just a mere attraction for tourism industry. After several years, Yamashiro is back again to voicing the forgotten narration about Okinawa through “Inheritance Series” (2008-2010) and “Your Voice Out Through My Throat” (2010). This time about the complexity of history of Okinawa that started as a sovereign territory below Ryukyu Kingdom, before annexed by Meiji regime in 18th century. Up to the dark hostory of “The Battle of Okinawa” where Japan Government is suspected forcing Okinawa citizen to do mass suicide because of the fear of they can leak their information to the enemy.
The same question from Yamashiro still can be meet in this film. Through the daily of woman butche, “A Woman of The Butcher Shop” will bring the audience onhow every dynamics in Okanawa history created complex problems. The overlaping values from gender construction which is putting women as second class citizen, fullfiller of man’s sexual greed. Up to how the capitalism created after-apocalyptic greed which didn’t give any space for humanity, all is just a mere object to satisfying primordial desire that is also capitalistic. To eat or be eaten.
Yamashiro is understand much, only the metaphores that can catch complex problems he had seen, being used by him to deliver the message. Terrifying atmosphere due to anger, fear, and greediness that experienced by someone, packed in 27 minutes film. How the relation between human becoming so shallow because of something a mere desire fulfiller. Human culture becomes commodity culture. Then. Butcher’s life that becoming this film’s background can be more make sense. Obsession over meat is a ‘fake needs’ (citating Herbert Marcuse in One Dimensional Man (1964) from the men that invaded the butcher shop together with same physical attribute and also same greediness. The greediness that left the butcher in despair, ripping him apart physically an emotionally.
This film succeed catching Japan, especially Okinawa in different point of view. Chikako Yamashiro’s background as Okinawa native and his concern towards Okinawa local issues in his creations, makes this film interesting. “A Woman of The Butcher Shop” is no ther than a creation about his and Okinawan’s anxiety over reality they live in. But, like the butcher character in this story, Yamashiro through this film realized that he can do more than being an object.