DocuLens Asia: Forum & Film Series

Spotlight on Naomi Kawase: March 2008 Appearance and Screenings

Kawase graduated from the Osaka School of Photography in 1989 and after lecturing there for four years began her career in film as a maker of short autobiographical documentaries. She was twenty-seven when her independently produced debut Suzaku (Moe no suzaku) won the Camera d’Or at Cannes in 1997. She later was awarded the Grand Prix at the 2007 Cannes (France) International Film Festival for Mogari no mori The Mourning Forest (Mogari no mori, 2007) which earned widespread praise from critics for its sensitive portrayal of two people struggling to cope with grief. The Film Collaborative of the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota co-presents Naomi Kawase with the Walker Art Center, in their Women with Vision: Past/Present series.

Shara (Sharasojyu)

Wednesday, March 26, 7:30 p.m. Shara is directed by Kawase. From the old town of Nara, the capital of Japan during the eighth and ninth centuries, the Aso family sets out for the Jizo Festival in the dizzying heat of midsummer. When Kei, one of the Asos' twin boys, suddenly disappears as if he'd been spirited away, time stops for the family until years later, when the remaining twin returns to the Jizo festival. Working cleverly with gaps in the narrative, Kawase evokes her characters' feelings through stunning and resounding images. 2003, Japan, 35mm, in Japanese with English subtitles, 100 minutes. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

The Mourning Forest (Mogari no mori)

Thursday, March 27, 7 p.m. The Mourning Forest introduced by director. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes 2007, this film pairs an elderly man whose dementia confines him to a nursing home and the young nurse who befriends him. On this unexpected journey of discovery, an eloquent story unfolds against the lush and tranquil setting of western Japan, where Kawase's natural touch as a filmmaker creates an inner geography of emotion. 2007, Japan/France, 35mm, in Japanese with English subtitles, 94 minutes. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

Tarachime (Birth/Mother)

A free screening that precedes The Mourning Forest
Thursday, March 27, 5:30 p.m. Tarachime, a documentary by the filmmaker on the birth of her son in the traditional Japanese way, and her relationship with her 90-year-old great aunt. 2006, in Japanese with English subtitles, 43 minutes. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

Walker films cost $8/$6 to Walker members and UMN students with ID. UMN screening is free.

Sky, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth (Kya ka ra ba a)

Friday, March 28, at 3:30 p.m. Sky, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth will be screened and the filmmaker will discuss her film at the University of Minnesota. It is free and open to the public. Further developing her form of first-person filmmaking, and working in the Super-8 home movie format, Kya ka ra ba a is a personal exploration of Kawase's own past and present. Often using a subjective camera, Kawase tries to come to terms with the father she never knew when growing up. The film poetically juxtaposes images of the present and reflections of the past, all informed with an acute sense of loss. 2001, Japan, 50 minutes. 155 Nicholson Hall, University of Minnesota. The Film Collaborative of the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota co-hosts this film with the Consortium for the Study of the Asias.

Further information can be found on the Institute for Advanced Study and Asian Languages and Literatures websites.

About DocuLens Asia

DocuLens Asia is a fall film series and forum conceived and planned by the Institute for Advanced Study's Asian Film Collaborative—a group of faculty from various departments at the University of Minnesota who share an interest in Asian cinema. DocuLens Asia provides scholars, students and the public in the Twin cities metro area with a unique opportunity to witness new and exciting achievements in Asian documentary filmmaking.

The collaborative will host an international film series and forum over three days November 2-4, 2006, featuring major documentary filmmakers from Taiwan, mainland China, India, and Japan. Q & A with directors will follow screenings and panel discussions will discuss trends and views on Asian documentary filmmaking—putting films in the context of the contemporary global condition.

View DocuLens Asia photos.