Up Close and Personal: Kawase Naomi - Film Screening


Part of the film series
Extreme Private Ethos: Japanese Documentaries

Up Close and Personal: Kawase Naomi (Two films screened in one program)
Family has been a central theme in Kawase Naomi’s work. Abandoned as an infant by her parents, who had already separated at the time of the filmmaker’s birth, Kawase was adopted and raised by her great uncle and aunt. The abandonment has left a major scar in the filmmaker. Many of Kawase’s documentaries confront issues of identity and family in an attempt to deal with the void she has felt since childhood.

KAWASE Naomi. 1992. 40 min. Color. 16mm.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

Against the advice of family members, filmmaker Kawase sets out to search for the father she has never met. As the filmmaker looks up old photographs and public registries to locate her father, a sense of loneliness and quiet perseverance permeates the screen. Made when Kawase was 23 years old, Embracing charts a deeply emotional journey filled with pain, emptiness and longing. (A Kumie, Inc. film. Print courtesy of Japan Foundation.)

KAWASE Naomi. 2006. 43 min. Color. Digibeta.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

Bearing her own child for the first time, filmmaker Kawase reflects on the themes of motherhood, family, and the cycle of life as she films the great aunt who adopted and raised her. Called Grandma by the filmmaker, Uno is 90 years old and ailing, evident in the uncompromising exposure of her fragile body. The documentary shows the two women fighting, as Kawase complains about her lonely childhood, and their subsequent reconciliation. At once brutal and tender, the film reveals a complex mother-daughter relationship. "Tarachime" refers to "birth mother" in Japanese. (A Kumie, Inc. film.)

"[Tarachime is] a beautiful and breathtaking work of art…of the most marvelous simplicity." — Natalia Ames, Nisimazine

"[Her films] are about life… Kawase just took your hands and led you to her garden. It is an intimate journey, a generous gesture." — Apichatpong Weerasethakul, filmmaker (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, 2010)

About the Director
KAWASE Naomi, born in 1969 in Nara, Japan, studied at the Osaka School of Photography (now Visual Arts College Osaka). Acclaimed for both her documentaries and fiction films, Kawase became the youngest winner of Cannes International Film Festival's Camera d'Or award for Moe No Suzaku (1997). She was also awarded Cannes' Grand Prize for Mogari No Mori (2007).

The series Extreme Private Ethos: Japanese Documentaries is supported, in part, by the Japan Foundation. Support for film programs at the Asia Society is provided, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts.

Event Details

Sun 18 Mar 2012
3:00 PM - 4:25 PM
Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue (at East 70 Street), New York, NY
$7 members; $9 students/seniors; $11 nonmembers. Phone and online ticketing for this event is now closed. Tickets are available and can be purchased at the door.
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