Entering into adulthood on the island of Amami, where centuries-old tradition mixes with modernity, and nature still has an influence on people’s lives. Naomi Kawase, despite opinions about typical Japanese detachment, talks about the Japanese soul, which is alive and hot. Sixteen-year-old Kaito finds in the water the body of a man who died under mysterious circumstances. The boy suspects that his always-absent, divorced mother who is trying to get her life in order is somehow connected. His friend, Kyoko, the daughter of a local shaman and cafe owner, who, although in her parents’ eyes is "a child in a big body," is becoming a woman. Among ritual songs and dances, she says good-bye to her dying mother, becomes more like her grandmother, falls in love, and plans her initiation. Kawase’s film is a nostalgic, raw, wind-blown tribute to womanhood that is full of the mysteries of the element of water. For a woman, maturation reminds her of a joyous leap into the depths of the sea without concern for the consequences; for a man, it is marked by anxiety.
Naomi Kawase was born in 1969 in Nara, Japan. She graduated from the School of Photography in Osaka and worked as a lecturer there for the next four years. Her feature debut, Suzaku, garnered her a FIPRESCI at the festival in Rotterdam in 1997, as well as a Golden Camera at the festival in Cannes, making her the youngest woman to win this award. In addition to making documentaries and music videos, she is also a writer and journalist. Her 2007 film The Mourning Forest won the Grand Prix at the 60th festival in Cannes, and it was shown as part of the New Horizons competition at the seventh New Horizons Festival, while Hanezu was shown in the Panorama section at the 12th edition of New Horizons.
2000 Hotaru / Firefly
2007 Las w żałobie / Mogari no mori / The Mourning Forest
2010 Genpin (doc.)
2011 Hanezu / Hanezu no tsuki / Hanezu