The Gatekeeper of Enmyoin

The Gatekeeper of Enmyoin

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Here’s a tidbit of information that might appeal to movie buffs: The Gatekeeper of Enmyoin, a documentary film about a 95-year-old Japanese Shingon Buddhist priestess and her mysterious young heiress, airs free on NGN Digital Channel 680, Video-On-Demand through Oceanic Time Warner Cable through the month of September.

The documentary, co-directed by Issei husband and wife filmmakers Reiko Tahara and Max Uesugi, premiered at the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) in 2007 to rave reviews. It is being shown on NGN’s Video On Demand to promote HIFF 2009, taking place from Oct. 15-25 at the Dole Cannery Theatres.

The film will be screened in Japan at the Oakayama Film Festival in November 2009. A two-minute trailer can be viewed online here.

Interested? Here is a synopsis:

When she is 7 years old, Teijin Ogawa ig given to a Shingon Buddhist temple. Cut off from her family, she becomes a rare niso (female priest) and eventually, builds her own temple, Enmyoin, in rural southwestern Japan. Over eighty years later, the proud niso shares her story with U.S.-based Japanese filmmaker Reiko Tahara. Intrigued by Teijin’s seemingly free spirit, Reiko looks to her for guidance as she reflects upon her own journey for freedom as an immigrant, a wife and a mother.
What she did not expect was that the niso steadfastly refused to share her view as a woman and she dies before filming is complete. But perhaps she left a clue about how she really felt in her choice of successor.
Cast: Seijun Baba, Shugen Baba, Teijun Ogawa and Joshu Iwasaki.

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