Haunted by the death of her child, Machiko moves to rural Nara, working as a nurse in a retirement home where she develops a filial fondness for the senile Shigeki. Their breezy countryside trip unexpectedly diverts deep into the forest as Shigeki searches for his wife’s tomb. It has been 33 years since his wife’s passing; her spirit will soon travel to the land of Buddha, never to return again.
The film is a lyrical endorsement of human resilience after loss. Described as mogari, the forest becomes a time and place for mourning, a metaphor for life, death and spiritual rebirth. Shigeki Uba and Machiko Ono’s quiet but soul stirring performances augment Kawase’s minimalist audio-visual poem on death and dementia. Trudging firmly through the forest, they find solace in each other, attaining a precious peace in the embers of devastation.
- Since her emergence in the 1990s, Naomi Kawase has cemented herself as one of the most respected and adroit filmmakers of contemporary Japanese cinema. Her films are a window into the inner worlds of nature and humanity, illuminating the quiet humanism that is present in all our lives. She has made more than 30 documentary and fiction works that have been lauded by critics, festivals and audiences all over.
- Naomi Kawase, Christian Baute, Shunji Dudo
- Naomi Kawase
- Shigeki Uda, Machiko Ono, Makiko Watanabe
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