Kazuhiro Soda returns to the 3 Continents Festival, where his observational films Campaign and the Theatre dyptich were screened in competition. His new film, Kaki Kouba, introduces us to the daily life of the family oyster workshops in the small coastal village of Ushimado in south-west Japan. Watanabe is a newcomer to the community, having relocated his family and small business, the Hirano Oyster Factory, far from the zone devastated by the 2011 tsunami. As the high oyster season approaches, Watanabe and his colleagues face a major problem. The critical shortage of local labour due to the rural exodus means that they have to resort to Chinese workers – a somewhat unnatural solution given the Japanese villagers’ deep mistrust of their continental neighbours. Soda’s film engages us throughout, as he himself is taken by surprise. He shares our unfamiliarity with the milieu he joined as a novice, attentive to the rules that structure it and open to the unexpected. Yet, he has some precious resources to hand, mainly his sense of humour – topped by a sense of the absurd – which infuses the entire film. With each new film, Soda continues his study of contemporary Japan where political resonances seem more and more pressing.