Filmmaker Fritz Schumann visits the mostly abandoned village of Nagoro in his creepily sweet short documentary The Valley of Dolls. Schumann profiles 64-year-old Nagoro resident Ayano Tsukimi, a woman who constructs large dolls bearing the likeness of every person who has died or moved out of her small town over the last decade. In its heyday, Nagoro was a bustling factory town populated by hundreds of residents. Now, less than a hundred people inhabit the village, but Ayano’s dolls add life to the mostly desolate landscape.
Schumann’s short documentary is a quiet look into this quant village and talented Ayano’s strange hobby. Ayano has even constructed a doll of herself, waiting to represent her after she’s passed away. It is not hard to imagine that soon Nagoro will becoming solely populated by these fascinating dolls, as each stands in for a person who has moved on.
Watching footage of Nagoro, I can’t help but be reminded of Mexico’s Isla de las Munecas (Island of Dolls), and find myself hoping that more places like these crop up, as my love for towns populated by children’s playthings knows no bounds (is that a strange thing to say?).[Source: io9.com]