- September 26, 2018
A decade after completing the trilogy of short films that she made in the mid-1990s about her adoptive mother, Naomi Kawase returns to her subject. The director’s “grandma,” her great-aunt Uno Kawase who raised her from a baby, is now 90 years old. Here, she captures the elderly woman in more intimate scenes than before. We see her naked in bed, for example, with the camera zooming in on the folds of her belly and breasts, as she talks about how Naomi suckled there—even though no milk came out. The scenes in which Naomi Kawase gives birth to her own child are equally candid.
This time it’s a mother’s gaze that guides the director as she films her great-aunt. She’s now a woman who wants to know why her grandma never had children of her own. The tone is more confrontational than in the past, such as when Naomi reminds Uno of the hurtful things she said when Naomi was a teenager—causing the elderly woman to become very upset. More than in the earlier short films in the series, this distressing scene exposes just how complex their relationship is.