Independent Lens: Brakeless

About This Episode


On Monday, April 25th 2005, a West Japan Railway commuter train crashed into an apartment building and killed 107 people when a driver tried to catch up with an 80-second delay. Just what pressures made the driver risk so much for such a minimal delay? Was this accident simply the result of human or mechanical failure, or the failure of society in a larger sense?

Piecing together personal accounts of those affected by the train crash, Brakeless poses a question for a culture that equates speed with progress. It examines the way in which the characteristics that are usually considered national virtues may have become more of a danger to the people of Japan. Director Kyoko Miyake’s film shows how the impact of this disaster sent shock waves that still resonate years later.