Bosei / 母性
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
Erika Toda, Mei Nagano, Masaki Miura, Yuri Nakamura, Rio Yamashita, Atsuko Takahata, Mao Daichi
In Japanese with English subtitles
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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)