IMDb > Obâchan's Garden (2003)

Obâchan's Garden (2003) More at IMDbPro »


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Linda Ohama (writer)
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5 wins & 1 nomination See more »
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2.5 stars (out of 4) See more (4 total) »


  (in credits order)
Linda Ohama ... Narrator / Herself
Asayo Murakami ... Herself (as Asayo 'Obâchan' Murakami)
Caitlin Ohama Darcus ... Herself / Young Spirit
Natsuko Ohama ... Herself / Obâchan
Chizuko Ohama ... Herself / Sugar Beet Field Worker (as Chizuko [Murakami] Ohama)
Midori Grace Ohama ... Herself (as Midori Grace [Murakami] Ohama)
George Murakami ... Himself / Procession
Yuki Chapman ... Herself / Procession (as Yuki [Murakami] Chapman)
Sueko Omori ... Herself
Masatoshi Yamaguchi ... Himself
Kazuko Akino ... Herself
Fumiko Yamaguchi ... Herself
Toshiko Hiroyasu ... Herself
Nanae Sogou ... Herself
Shigeo Sogou ... Himself
Mr. Yoshinori Imamoto ... Himself (as Mr.)
Mrs. Yoshinori Imamoto ... Herself
Hirohito Imamoto ... Himself
Chieko Nishida ... Herself
Nelson Mashita ... Otokichi
Donna Yamamoto ... Yasu
July Ono ... Suye
Warren Takeuchi ... Mitsujiro

Hiro Kanagawa ... Sadaji
Masataka Endo ... Young George
Rosalind Endo ... Young Midori
Kaede Mizukoshi ... Young Chizuko
Ayaka Kurashina ... Young Yuki
Chika Oshikiri ... Young Yae / Procession
Tetsu Takagaki ... Young Hisashi
Isao Takagaki ... Young Butch
Ryota Takahara ... Young Osamu
Takeo Yamashiro ... Shakuhachi Musician
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tona Ohama ... Sugar Beet Field Worker

Directed by
Linda Ohama 
Writing credits
Linda Ohama (writer)

Produced by
Betsy Carson .... associate producer
Selwyn Jacob .... producer
Graydon McCrea .... executive producer
Linda Ohama .... producer
Original Music by
Dennis Burke 
Cinematography by
Kirk Tougas (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Manfred Becker 
Linda Ohama 
Production Design by
Vivien Nishi 
Art Direction by
Barry Kootchin 
Set Decoration by
Don Madsen 
Leslie Madsen 
Costume Design by
Christina McQuarrie  (as Christina Mcquarrie)
Makeup Department
Julia Bors .... hair stylist
Julia Bors .... makeup department head
Production Management
Bill Donovan .... production manager
Dale Gamble .... production manager
Kathryn Lynch .... production supervisor
Julia Neville .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Chris Foss .... second assistant director
Ty Haller .... first assistant director
Art Department
Tor Baxter .... carpenter
Madonna Blunt .... scenery painter
Lubor Cencak .... scenery painter
Christopher Cooper .... carpenter
Paul Duffy .... scenery painter
Erich Hepnar .... decorator: greens
Jayne Mason .... scenery painter
Colin R. Potter .... set dresser (as Colin Potter)
Ginny Sakamoto .... assistant art director
Les Sand .... decorator: greens
Sound Department
Tyler Berrie .... foley recordist
Dennis Burke .... sound re-recording mixer
Dennis Burke .... sound supervisor
Darren Gilmore .... adr recordist
Robert Hanchar .... additional recordist: documentary (as Rob Hanchar)
Patrick Haskill .... effects editor (as Patric Haskill)
Jeff Henschel .... additional recordist: documentary/drama
Philip Hunter .... dialogue editor (as Phil Hunter)
Pat Lauwers .... boom operator
Geo Major .... boom operator (as George Major)
Iain Pattison .... sound re-recording mixer
Michael Playfair .... additional recordist: documentary
Paul A. Sharpe .... sound re-recording mixer
Leigh Hunt Wilks .... sound recordist: documentary/drama (as Leigh Hunt Wilkes)
Special Effects by
Mike Splatt .... special effects coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Adriano Cavina .... camera assistant: documentary
Robert Creese .... additional camera: documentary
Jon Fenster .... dolly grip
Dale Gamble .... stills photographer: documentary
Rudolf Kovanic .... additional camera: documentary (as Rudy Kovanic)
Morgan Kroon .... camera assistant: documentary
Gerry Murakami .... stills photographer: documentary
Rosamond Norbury .... location stills
Caitlin Ohama Darcus .... camera operator: DV, documentary
Linda Ohama .... camera operator: DV, documentary
Mikil Lee Rullman .... camera assistant: documentary (as Mikil Rullman)
Les Sanderson .... lighting technician
Hiram Schmerer .... second camera assistant
Alexis Seto .... stills photographer: documentary
Trevor Shaddelee .... key grip (as Trevor Schaddelee)
Robert E. Simpson .... assistant camera (as Rob Simpson)
Robert E. Simpson .... first camera assistant (as Rob Simpson)
Christopher G. Sprague .... gaffer (as Chris Sprague)
Matthew Walkley .... gaffer (as Matt Walkly)
Tony Westman .... additional camera: documentary
Colin Wildschut .... location stills
Richard Win .... second camera assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Oriana Graber .... on-set costumer
Kris Rohani .... additional costumes
Editorial Department
Manfred Becker .... supervising editor
Ken Cathro .... colour correction
Sue Howard .... assistant editor
Neil Thompson .... associate editor
Transportation Department
David Jordan .... driver
Akira Nobuta .... driver: Japan, documentary
Other crew
Ao Akino .... production assistant: documentary
Kazuko Akino .... researcher: Japan, documentary
Manfred Becker .... story editor
Jack Darcus .... production consultant
Bruce Hagerman .... program administrator
Angela Heck .... publicist: National Film Board of Canada
Corey Jones .... script continuity
Toshio Murao .... mochi pounder: documentary
Sue Murphy .... production assistant: documentary/drama
Yoshi Nishikihama .... mochi pounder: documentary
George Ohama .... production assistant: documentary
Sumiko Urata .... dance consultant: documentary
Tommy Wilson .... location assistant (as Tom Wilson)

Production CompaniesOther Companies

Additional Details

94 min


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2.5 stars (out of 4), 11 January 2003
Author: Mike Weston (mweston) from Silicon Valley, CA

This sort-of documentary started as a short film that director Linda Ohama wanted to make about her grandmother (Asayo Murakami) for her 100th birthday. The title comes from the Japanese word for grandmother (obaachan), and from the fact that Ohama's grandmother had a large garden that she cherished for many years.

The documentary portion of the film was interesting and relatively well done. Ohama interviews her grandmother and others, and travels to where her grandmother lived in Japan and later in Canada. She combines this with photos and archival footage, and manages to unravel some deeply hidden mysteries. The film chronology follows the order than Ohama learns each fact, which works to maintain the mystery, but is perhaps less coherent than a truly chronological telling. The quality of the archival footage is generally poor, while the modern day footage is better but still looks like video, despite the fact that the program indicates 35mm film.

The real problem, however, was that this film departs from the normal documentary approach and uses actors to reenact events from when the grandmother was younger. These actors are not very good or at least do not demonstrate their talents, so the film feels amateur during these scenes. The actress who plays the younger Obaachan is actually another granddaughter (Natsuko Ohama), but is theoretically also an actress. I'm afraid I wasn't convinced.

The director and her daughter (a great-granddaughter) were at the screening at the 2002 Hawaii International Film Festival on 11/3/2002 to answer questions. They were on their way to Japan to show it there for 30 days. Obaachan wanted to come on the trip, but the doctors recommended against it. She's about 104.

When Linda Ohama started the film, her grandmother had recently gone into a nursing home. Ohama discovered that her grandmother stretched out the filmmaking process by refusing to talk too much on any one day, because she liked the attention. At one point we see her leading a cheer of "Banzai!" from a wheelchair. This is the kind of spirit that makes the film watchable.

Note that while the film is primarily in English, there is some subtitled Japanese.

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