Mother-daughter relationships take center stage in Naoko Ogigami’s CLOSE-KNIT. Eleven-year-old Tomo spends much time with her uncle Makio, as her mother is in the habit of disappearing for days. Now she finds that Makio’s girlfriend Rinko has moved in with him, and Tomo is surprised to learn that Rinko is a transwoman. She is also nice, friendly and caring, and the lunchboxes she prepares are so delicious that Tomo accepts Rinko as a substitute mother.
The title of this heart-warming family affair is taken from Rinko’s hobby, the craft of knitting. Threads that become a strong fabric is a beautiful metaphor for togetherness within a family, but for Rinko, knitting is also a way of dealing with hardships and feelings of resentment. There is considerable prejudice against trans-people in Japan, a lesson Tomo soon must learn herself. By depicting how such strong social tensions affect the everyday life of a family, director Ogigami actually breaks new ground in Japanese cinema.
Introduction with director present at the screening on Friday (Fokus 2).