Radiance doesn’t spell out its messages, but rather asks its viewers to interpret them on their own. Likewise, the story turns on a woman, Misako Ozaki (Ayame Misaki), whose work involves interpreting films for the blind. She writes the audio descriptions of films, interpreting all non-dialogue scenes for a film. She’s made to test them on a focus group of blind viewers, whose honest feedback makes clear how challenging and creative her work must be.Read more
Nature and spirituality centre the quiet drama of Still The Water, writer/director Naomi Kawase’s 2014 feature covering life, death and the whole damn thing.
Kawase’s film unfolds in a slow and languorous fashion, leading with hypnotic visuals of the ocean and the landscape of the Japanese island of Amami-Oshima, where the director has family ties. Still The Water seems to be treading water at times, given its pace and its meandering storytelling, and all the talk of death and love and spirituality and nature is sometimes confusing. The film is always engaging to look at, but the characters seem involved in a search for meaning that leads nowhere.
That might be the point.
Motherhood — in all its complexity — is at the heart of Naomi Kawase’s drama True Mothers, which tells the intertwined stories of Hikari Katakura (Aju Makita) and Satoko Kurihara (Hiromi Nagasaku). Their circumstances are very different, but they both fiercely love the same little boy, and that love ultimately helps each better understand the other.Read more
As someone who was given up for adoption as an infant, True Mothers couldn’t help but touch my heart and souL. What most got to me about Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase’s touching drama about a well-off Tokyo couple with an adopted 5-year-old son were the two mothers at the center of the story. The message that matters? That maternal love can come in many forms.Read more
True Mothers is first and foremost a movie about feeling in every sense of the word. Naomi Kawase’s emphasis on ‘feeling’ is harmonized as physical and emotional; the film is punctuated by a steady stream of close ups of hands, highlighting their gestural capacity to communicate complex feelings without words, but also to connection with another person through touch.Read more
Naomi Kawase’s Sweet Bean is a beautifully told tale set in a Tokyo neighborhood pancake shop, where delicious jam, cherryRead more