Chiri | Trace

Japan/France 2012, Documentary, 45’ | Director, Screenplay, DoP, Editor Naomi Kawase | Sound Takizawa Osamu | Music Hasiken | Cast Naomi Kawase, Uno Kawase, Mitsuki | Production Kumie Inc., Arte France | Distribution Kumie Inc.

»Family gives me the clearest idea of human bonds. [...] My parents were living separately before my mother gave birth to me, and divorced when I was one and a half years old. I was raised by my aunt‘s family. [...] My aunt didn‘t have a child, so she and her husband took care of me like their real daughter. And I was adopted by them when I was in the fourth grade, and I officially took their surname: Kawase.«
Naomi Kawase

When Naomi Kawase went to stay with her foster parents, they were already 65 years old. Her adoptive father died when she was 14 years old. Following that, she lived alone with her adoptive mother Uno Kawase. It is a relationship theme she has frequently returned to in her films. In Chiri, she accompanies Uno until her death at the age of 95. Chiri is a farewell film, which tells of the horrors of death without flinching from the pain. Once again, Naomi Kawase has briliantly explored the vulnerability of human existence.

Naomi Kawase was born 1969 in Nara City, Japan. She studied film at the Osaka School of Photography (now the School of Visual Arts) where she subsequently taught for four years. In 1992, using 8mm film, she created Ni Tsutsumarete (Embracing) – a film about the search for her biological father. In 1997, she made Moe No Suzaku, her feature film debut, for which she was awarded a Golden Palm, thus becoming the youngest winner in the history of the Cannes International Film Festival. Her other films have been shown at international festivals and awarded various prizes. For Mogari No Mori (The Mourning Forest), Ms Kawase received the 2007 Grand Prize of the Jury also at the Cannes Film Festival. In the same year, her documentary film Tarachime was awarded the Special Prize at the Yamagata International Film Festival.

Anna F. Kohlschütter