Talking to the Starry Sky

The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011. Though this unprecedented disaster caused more than 18,000 people to be declared dead or missing, it is not well known that the mortality rate of people with disabilities was twice that of people without them.
The film depicts this little-known fact through a fictional narrative based on the true stories of witnesses whose accounts were collected in the areas hit.

The community workshop “Aogiri,” located in the city of Rikuzen Takada in Iwate Prefecture, managed to escape the direct damage caused by the tsunami, but its members became discouraged due to the loss of their colleagues.
The woman who was directing the workshop strove to cheer up those members and began working hard to enable them to get back to regular life as soon as possible.
In this situation, the Japan Disability Network, which was about to start support activities in cooperation with support groups from all over Japan, received information that persons with disabilities in the disaster areas had disappeared, and also was confronted with the mysterious fact that no people with disabilities were found in any of the evacuation centers they visited.
At the same time, people in the city of Minami Soma in Fukushima Prefecture were forced to evacuate due to the nuclear power station accident. However, representatives of the community workshop “Crossroad House” have continued to support persons with disabilities who were left behind because they could not leave by themselves while fighting the hazards of radioactivity. The workshop needed to obtain information on disabled persons in emergencies in order to confirm their safety, but it was not disclosed because of laws protecting personal information.
Thus, laws protecting human rights became a hindrance for people working to save the lives of disabled persons. What was the real situation of disabled persons hit by the disaster and the people working to help them whose life-saving efforts were hampered by the personal information protection laws?

  • Yurugu Matsumoto
  • Osamu Yamamoto
  • Hideo Arai
  • Sachiko Yoda
    Key Cast
    "Sumiko Imamura"
  • Yukijiro Hotaru
    Key Cast
    "Takashi Ozawa"
  • Futoshi Imatani
    Key Cast
    "Shuji Morikawa"
  • Kiyohiko Ueki
    Key Cast
    "Akira Oshima"
  • Toshio Edamitsu
    Key Cast
    "Mitsuaki Urata"
  • Rei Sugai
    Key Cast
    "Masumi Okamoto"
  • Takashi Irie
    Key Cast
    "Isao Segawa"
  • Hiroaki Miyakawa
    Key Cast
    "Keiji Kono"
  • Hiroshi Ikushima
    Key Cast
    "Ryo Yaegashi"
  • Makoto Akatsuka
    Key Cast
  • Kei Omae
    Key Cast
    "Sho Tsujimura"
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    星に語りて~Starry Sky~
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 55 minutes 20 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 20, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    70,000,000 JPY
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
    Vista Vision
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Yurugu Matsumoto

Born 1969, Tachikawa City, Tokyo, Japan. In the 1990s, Matsumoto started making his own 8mm films while a student at the Image Forum Institute of the Moving Image. He later began working as a freelance assistant director in commercial, studio filmmaking and served under such directors as Takashi Ishii, Takashi Yamazaki, Yoshihiro Nakamura, Hitoshi Yazaki, Banmei Takahashi, and Shinsuke Sato. His last film as assistant director was Nobuhiko Obayashi's HANAGATAMI. Now, Matsumoto focuses on directing his own work, mainly documentary TV dramas, as well as his passion for independent shorts. Many of Matsumoto's shorts have been nominated and won awards at numerous film festivals. PAY PHONE won the Japan Competition Best Actor Award at Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2018, which is an Academy Awards accredited festival and one of the biggest short film festivals in Asia. The film also won Best Narrative Short at Kansas City FilmFest International 2020, a festival with a quarter-century of history. It has been screened at over sixty national and international film festivals, winning 20 awards. including five Grands Prix. Cassette Tape, the sequel to PAY PHONE, premiered at the 6th Hachioji Short Film Festival where it won both the Grand Prix and Audience Award. After that, it won Grand Prix and Best Actress at the 23rd Yokohama Visual Entertainment Festival, making Matsumoto the very first director to win Grands Prix there four years in a row.

From pop idol vehicles to socially aware melodramas, Matsumoto has directed a wide range of film productions. His VIRGIN BREEZE, a short he wrote and directed for the Japanese pop idol girl band Nogizaka 46, won significant critical acclaim. Meanwhile, Matsumoto's feature-length TALKING TO THE STARRY SKY is based on the true stories of people with disabilities and their supporters and sheds light on their forgotten experiences following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The movie won an encouragement award from the highly authoritative 37th Japan Film Revitalization Committee.

Matsumoto's screenplay for TSUREZURE was nominated in the synopsis competition at the 3rd MPA/DHU Film Workshop. Carlos Saldanha (known for his Ice Age: The Meltdown, Rio, etc.) highly commended it. The same project also advanced to the final stage at the Sundance Institute/NHK Award 2017, where it was selected as one of the top nine screenplays.

In his hometown of Tachikawa City, Matsumoto actively contributes to film culture as a teacher in his local "Moviemaking Workshop" and as a judge for the Tachikawa Meigazadori Cinema Festival.

AZUSA (1992), CRIMSON TEARS (1993), OPEN TO VISITORS (1993), MIX (2015), GACHA GACHA (2016), VIRGIN BREEZE (2017), PAY PHONE (2019), CASSETTE TAPE (2019), Talking to the Starry Sky (2019), PALETTE (2020), 2020 Tokyo 12 Actors (2021),First Love(2022)

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