Ryuichi Hiroki’s film is shot through with the spirit of Greek tragedy. It’s the story of Rumiko (Erika Toda), who dearly loves her mother Hanae (Mao Daichi) but is unable to feel the same way about her daughter Sayaka (Mei Nagano). Told from both Rumiko and Sayaka’s perspectives, Motherhood parses the psychology of both women, laying bare the fractures that prevent affection from passing down through the family lineage. It’s a sad story, but one that has room in it for compassion and tenderness amid the harshness.
Shooting in widescreen, Hiroki displays a peculiar but very evocative sensibility; at times, his film takes on a dollhouse-like aesthetic of ordered, brittle beauty. He’s a terrific director of actors, drawing a different portrait of frustrated passion from each lead performer. We’re used to assuming that parent and child must love each other, at least in some way; Motherhood is brave enough to question that assumption and powerful enough to call forth the deepest sympathy.
Q&A Oct 5 & Oct 7
Erika Toda, Mei Nagano, Masaki Miura, Yuri Nakamura, Rio Yamashita, Atsuko Takahata, Mao Daichi
In Japanese with English subtitles
More Films in this Series
Léo and Rémi's summertime adolescent friendship is scrutinized by their classmates, making Léo pull away in self-conscious fear. A stunningly lyrical tour de force that explores that explores the fragile nature of friendship and masculinity.
This sweeping dissection of systemic racism in Canadian hockey culture documents the personal stories of Black hockey players dealing with racism from fans, coaches, other players, and the institutional pressure to remain silent about their mistreatment.
Ryuichi Hiroki’s film tells the story of a woman who loves her mother but can’t muster the same feelings for her daughter. Shot through with the spirit of Greek tragedy, Hiroki creates a rich atmosphere of psychological danger.
In 2014 in Ukraine's Donbass region, Irka, who's seven months pregnant, and her partner Tolik face the dilemma of whether or not to flee the area. As the tense, haunting, and tragic film unfolds, the conflict threatens to tear them apart.
Before, Now & Then
Dreamlike, sensual, and intensely lyrical, Kamila Andini’s Indonesian 1960s period drama is a rare glimpse into the emotional life of a woman who escapes war and enters into the pampered existence of a passionless marriage.
When the first manned mission to Mars hits turbulence due to personality clashes amongst the crew, the higher-ups devise a bizarre solution involving a simulacrum and surrogates. As the deadpan absurdity escalates, Viking mines poignancy from folly.
A privileged housewife in 1968 Chicago finds herself at odds with the patriarchal medical establishment when she requires an abortion to save her life. A timely and relevant film about reproductive justice in the year that Roe v. Wade was overturned.
Steeped in the warmth of summer and the sweetness of peaches, Alcarràs tells the tale of a family in Catalonia suddenly faced with eviction from the land they’ve farmed for generations. A bittersweet tale of love and family in a last idyllic summer.
Crystal Pite: Angels' Atlas
This sublime documentary captures the National Ballet of Canada's rebirth through their staging of Angels' Atlas—their final show before the pandemic shutdown in 2020 and their first performance when the company returned in November 2021.
De Roller, the High Commissioner of French Polynesia, has a problem on his hands: the French Marines have arrived on the islands, and their presence coincides with rumours that nuclear testing is soon to commence. A lush and moody delight.
In her impressive directorial debut, Frances O'Connor plausibly imagines how a shy, demure preacher's daughter (played by the sensational Emma Mackey) might come to write something as bold and primal as Wuthering Heights.
Boy From Heaven
Adam, a young man studying at a leading religious institution in Egypt, becomes a pawn in the struggle between government spies and radical religious leaders. A shrewdly plotted thriller with a superbly expressive performance from Tawfeek Barhom.
In Mashhad, Iran, a serial killer known as The Spider has murdered over a dozen women. Rahimi, a journalist obsessed with finding the killer, soon finds a skewed social morality that praises the perpetrator and condemns his victims.
Tatsuhiko Taniguchi, Shunsuke Koga, Yasushi Minatoya
Ryuichi Hiroki’s breakthrough into mainstream film came with his 1994 feature 800 Two Lap Runners, which opened at the Berlin International Film Festival. That same year, he won a scholarship to the Sundance Film Festival and went to the United States. In 2003, Hiroki won numerous awards at more than 40 international film festivals in Japan and abroad, including the Best Director Award for his feature film Vibrator at the 25th Yokohama Film Festival.
Filmography: The Egoists (2011); Marmalade Boy (2018); It’s Boring Here, Pick Me Up (2018); Phases of the Moon (2022)