1 - 7, 2018
ORGANISED BY THE AUSTRIAN-JAPANESE SOCIETY (ÖJG)
MARGARETENSTRASSE 78, 1050 VIENNA
Monday, October 2, 7:30 p.m.
Karera ga Honki de Amu toki wa
Japan 2017, 127 min.
It’s not the first time that eleven-year-old Tomo turns up at the shop of her Uncle Makio and asks for help. Her mother is apparently not fit for her role, or at least has a rather free interpretation of her duties as a single parent. Much to the disadvantage of young Tomo-chan, who often has to fend for herself by eating onigiri rice balls from the konbini supermarket, surrounded by whatever’s left of her mother’s long night out. Uncle Makio now decides to take matters into his own hands, and invites Tomo to move in with him and his partner.
On their first meeting Tomo realises that the new situation will be rather unusual, since Rinko (Toma Ikuta), her uncle’s new partner, is a transgender woman. The initial anxiety soon fades, since Rinko turns out to be a person of touching softness who looks after Tomo with devoted care. This gives Tomo for the first time in her life a warm feeling of being cared for, and a sense of something like an ideal family life. But the domestic idyll is soon thrown out of balance, as the outside world doesn’t regard the freely structured family in a positive light. Attacks by the representatives of ‘normality’, whether by parents of classmates or people from the social care organisation, put considerable pressure on the new family configuration. And on top of that there’s the matter of the real mother who wants her child back.
For director Naoko Ogigami the film marks the beginning of a new stage in her work. After the success of her irresistibly attractive film Rent-A-Cat (2012) she now takes on a topic that is largely untouched in Japan by putting a transgender woman at the centre of her story, whose gentle, modest charm never weakens her resolve to go her own way.
Close-Knit was shown at this year's Berlin film festival, where it received the Teddy jury award and the Panorama audience award. More audience awards it got at Udine Far East Festival and New York Asian Film Festival. At the Tel Aviv LGBT Festival it was honored as Best Narrative Feature.