Over the El Dorado: A Flyover Tour of a Silenced Fairground

What becomes of buildings once made with a purpose after having finished that role? The colors of that scene, their faded appearance, the sounds, the scent and the wind, the stimulation of all five senses. Something as simple as the sun reflecting on the machine in a certain way can vividly remind us of the memories of their heyday, even of the feeling of barefoot running around the tiles at the water's edge. Rides to be demolished, rides to be uprooted to the next amusement park, the fairground fallen silent. The bird's-eye view of the drone makes me feel as if I am looking into my past, present, and future all at once.

  • Aiko Tanaka
  • Aiko Tanaka
    Drone camera
    Drone camera
  • Mizuho Otagiri
  • Hiroki Kawamura
  • Chrumi
  • Nozomu Arai
    Sound design
  • Árni Kristjánsson
    Title design
  • Mirai Osawa
  • Kohei Hasegawa
  • Junko Kokubo
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Feature, Short
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 50 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 5, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    1,500,000 JPY
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Aiko Tanaka

Aiko Tanaka is a Japanese film maker currently based in Tokyo. A film graduate from Musashino Art University, her career began as a documentary film editor in 2002. After working for respected names in Japan’s TV and Film industry for over 15 years, in 2017 she broke out as an independent filmmaker under her own production brand DAGUA. In the same year she also qualified as a licensed drone pilot. The striking footage from around the world showcased in her work is all self-shot.

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Director Statement

Toshimaen amusement park in Tokyo, ended its 94-year-long history last summer (2020).
Every year it served as a backdrop to Japanese traditions such as cherry blossom viewings and coming of age ceremonies in Spring, the Bon festival and fireworks displays in Summer, potato digging excursions for local children in the Fall, and during Winter months the swimming pool became a fishing pond. It was present in local life all year round and also became a cosplay hotspot. It was a unique amusement park that showed us the changing times vividly. When I visited the pool in summer I would (unbeknownst to my parents) search for coins that had fallen to the bottom of the water and spend it on a small hamburger or such snack. I was crazy about roller coasters and arcades at that time, but I never gave thought to the cultural significance of the site itself as a snapshot in history. The vintage carousel there, El Dorado, started operation in 1971 but was originally made in Germany, toured Europe, then moved to Coney Island in the United States. The site upon which it is built survived the war and the great Japanese recession only to be replaced by an upcoming Harry Potter theme park. I shot and edited while floating drunk through my own nostalgia for the past memories and daydreams of El Dorado’s future.