Directed by Naoko Ogigami (Japan, 2017, 127 min.). Digital. Japanese with English subtitles.
Eleven-year-old Tomo is pretty much left to her own devices. Unwashed dishes are piling up in the sink, and supermarket onigiri is all there is to eat. Tomo’s single mother usually comes home late, and drunk. When she leaves her daughter for good one day, the girl has to rely on help from her uncle, who takes her in to live with him and his girlfriend Rinko. At their first meeting, Tomo is flabbergasted to discover that Rinko is transgender. Rinko immediately sets about taking care of Tomo; not only does she lovingly prepare meals, but she also succeeds in creating a new home for the girl. But, before long, cracks appear in their perfect nest.
As in her last film, Rentaneko (2012), Japanese director Naoko Ogigami offers another story about finding a way out of one’s loneliness. In the case of Tomo and her new family, the solution is a mixture of human warmth, good food, and the symbolic act of knitting. In quietly concentrated images, the film portrays non-normative sexuality as a natural way of life and describes the value of families that are defined not by convention, but by a loving, caring environment.
Synopsis courtesy of the Berlin International Film Festival.
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