Karin Viard is showing this Wednesday in “Tokyo Shaking”, by Oliver Peyon, whose plot takes place at the time of the Fukushima disaster. Loosely based on real events, the film is also a social film on the corporate world.
What is it about ?
Tokyo, March 11, 2011: a tsunami ravages the coast of Japan, threatening to destroy the Fukushima power station. Alexandra, who recently worked for a French bank in Tokyo, finds herself at the heart of this crisis. Torn between the orders of her management and the desire to protect her family and colleagues, Alexandra tries to come to terms with the situation and finds herself, almost in spite of herself, defending a certain idea of honor.
Tokyo Shaking, directed by Olivier Peyon, written by Olivier Peyon and Cyril Brody, with Karin Viard, Stéphane Bak, Yumi Narita …
Released on June 23, 2021
Loosely based on a true story
By mixing what could be the starting point of a disaster film (the tsunami that triggered the Fukushima disaster) and corporate social film, Tokyo Shaking stands out for its rather original subject in the French cinema landscape.
The result is interesting in more than one way because it manages to maintain suspense, and maintains a certain lightness despite the seriousness of the facts from which the film is inspired.
Let’s talk about the facts, precisely. One of the qualities of this film is the particular care given to the factual details of the scenario. While it is in no way a question of making a purely documentary story, we feel the attention to making a film that is closest to the situation actually endured.
As the director Olivier Peyon explains, the plot of Tokyo Shaking takes as its starting point the story of a friend of the filmmaker. “I meet her one evening in Paris and, while I believed her to be stationed in Hong Kong, she announces to me that she now works for a large French bank in Tokyo and begins to tell me about the crazy week she lived. two years earlier during the earthquake of March 2011.“
And to add: “She describes to me the power of the tremors, the horror of the tsunami, the anguish rising as the Fukushima plant grew out of control. The disinformation is total, as much on the Japanese side as abroad, and for good reason, no one knows what is going on. What to do: leave or stay? Everyone deals with their conscience. “
“My friend tells me this, bursting with laughter, as if she suddenly became aware of this ubiquitous situation, continues the filmmaker. It is truly the daily life of a disaster that she tells me about, when you have so much to deal with that you don’t have time to be afraid, where the big and the little story mingle. The desire to make a film was born.“
A long investigation work
To carry out this scenario, Olivier Peyon then carried out a long investigation work, with Cyril Brody, his co-writer. “After learning from my friend’s anecdotes, we went to Tokyo to visit the bank where she worked, we met the expatriate community, including the character of Michel (the neighbor working for an Areva subsidiary). he tells in the film is true.“
“We were also obviously very interested in the case of TEPCO, the private equivalent of EDF in charge of the Fukushima plant. In 2009, two years before the disaster, a report had stipulated that it was necessary to raise the dikes of two power plants because of the risk of tsunami – those of Fukushima and Onagawa, further north which did not depend on the same operator. It cost millions: TEPCO
buried the report while the other operator raised their dikes. We know what happened to the Fukushima plant while the other was spared.“
“It’s always the same story of money and profit. And that’s a nice metaphor for capitalism: when all is well, all is well; when it blocks, the state of nature takes back its rights, there is no one left. “
Note that Tokyo Shaking also benefits from a careful staging, including a few scenes actually shot in Tokyo, and an excellent cast led by an impeccable Karin Viard.