2001-2010DocumentaryJapanJapanese Female DirectorsNaomi KawaseShort Film

Naomi Kawase – Tarachime (2006)

n April 24, 2004, Kawase Naomi had a son, Mitsuki. Following Japanese tradition, she gave birth on a tatami mat, assisted by a midwife and surrounded by all her family. As soon as the umbilical cord was cut, she tools up her camera and films every day her child and her ninety-year-old grandmother. With this highly emotionally affecting «docu-diary» the filmmaker continues to reflect on the world around her, her origins and the future. Although she initially wanted to describe only the life she carried within her for nine months, Kawase Naomi eventually extended the scope of her film to include Mitsuki’s interaction with those around him. By deliberately breaking with any notion of linear temporarily, she creates, with gentleness but also with harshness and violence, a pendulum like movement between moments, past and present feelings.

Tarachime is an old Japanese word for ”mother”. Combining both fictional and documentary elements in her films, director Naomi Kawase never knew her mother; instead, she was raised by her grandmother Uno. The Tarachime video diary begins with the birth of Kawase’s son, Mitsuki, in spring 2004 when the grandmother was 99 years old. Kawase’s film, making use of poetic, personal, corporeal, even brutal narration, explores the world around them and the social interaction taking place in it. The temporal distance between the birth of the child and the death of the grandmother is crossed by the means of open narration. There is a connection between the worlds of the living and the dead because a human being always leaves something behind.

‘Traces left for the future to connect– My mother left me when I was a child. And now I myself have become a mother… I will never abandon my son. Now a mother myself, I do not find myself understanding my parent’s feelings, but rather discovering that my feelings draw closer to my child… Instead of filling in the losses of the past, perhaps I can re-formulate memories of the past and give birth to something new. I wanted to be born, because I wanted to live.’

Naomi Kawase embarks upon a new world. ‘Embracing’, ‘Kya Ka Ra Ba A’, ‘Letter from a Yellow Cherry Blossom’ … these very personal works of Naomi Kawase’s filmography were forms of artistic expression attempting to fill in the void from her own ‘losses in life’, such as parting and death. Now, as the mother of a newborn baby, she embarks upon a new era of her career. A new beginning that goes beyond the barrenness of loss and expresses the primitive power inherent in human nature. This new film will become the starting point for Naomi’s new life as a mother and filmmaker.

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Subtitles:English hardcoded

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