Six years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated the Tohoku region, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing, and triggering meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant that has left a deeply embedded mistrust of nuclear power in the Japanese consciousness.
Fukushima has been the subject of many documentaries and movies since 3/11, with “La Terre Abandonnee” (“Nokosareshi Daichi”) being the latest to join the batch. Written and directed by Belgium’s Gilles Laurent, “La Terre Abandonnee” looks specifically at Tomioka, a village in Fukushima Prefecture that was evacuated because of high radiation levels. Abandoned by its residents, with few returning, it is now populated by just a handful of people, mostly those who feel a sense of loyalty to their ancestral homes and feel that it’s too late to make a fresh start elsewhere. One man even opted to stay in order to look after the animals everyone else left behind — including livestock and, intriguingly, an ostrich.