‘Valley of Dolls’, Documentary About a Desolate Japanese Village, Where Life-Size Dolls Stand In for Former Residents

“Valley of Dolls,”
a documentary short by Berlin-based filmmaker Fritz Schumann, profiles Ayano Tsukimi, a 64-year-old resident of the largely-abandoned village of Nagoro. Tsukimi has sewed around 350 life-size dolls to represent the many townsfolk who have died or moved away since more bustling days when a factory sustained hundreds of residents.

I started making the dolls 10 years ago. I didn’t have much to do. I planted seeds, but none of the sprouted. I thought we needed scarecrows, so I made one doll [that looked] like my father. I never thought it would turn into this.

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Brian Heater
Brian Heater