Close-Knit 0+

(Karera ga Honki de Amu toki wa), Naoko Ogigami, J 2017, Japan version / Czech and English subtitles, 127 min

Little Tomo lives in a flat with her mother who, not for the first time, leaves her home alone and without a note saying when she's coming back. That's why the girl goes to uncle Mako and finds refuge with him and his transgender girlfriend, Rinka, who works as a nurse in a retirement home. They gradually grow closer, and curious Tomo and generous auntie Rinka represent to each other what the other does not or cannot have. The long contemplation about the parameters of “normalcy” and “family” addresses the issue of motherhood across several generations. Moreover, the film utilizes subtle motifs, developing them throughout the film and thus perfectly depicting the characters in their empathy and delicacy. Formally, the picture resembles the work of Yasujiro Ozu and his Tokyo Story. Director Naoko Ogigami returns, not only with her topic, to the observation of a family as the basic, close-knit unit of society.

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