Skip to main content
Tsugaru Lacquer Girl film image

Tsugaru Lacquer Girl


This event has passed

North American Premiere

Keiko Tsuruoka’s film is at once traditional and contemporary: it gently mixes present-day gender and sexuality politics with the old-fashioned Japanese domestic drama. Traditional lacquerwork kitchenware is the Aoki family’s legacy, handed down to patriarch Seishiro (Kaoru Kobayashi) by his now-ailing father (Masayuki Suzuki). Seishiro expects to pass it in turn to his son Yu (Ryota Bando), but Yu has no interest in the craft—quite unlike daughter Miyako (Mayu Hotta), who loves it dearly. The stage is set for conflict, as established cultural traditions collide with modern mores…

Tsugaru Lacquer Girl features fine performances from its ensemble cast. As the father, Kobayashi assumes a mask of stern stoicism that melts slowly but surely; another player of note is Toshiya Miyata as Yu’s kindly boyfriend. Hotta, however, is the centre of the film, and her performance as the heroine is at once gentle and luminous. Like the artisans that are his subject, Tsuruoka has crafted a modest but beautiful work; sit back, relax, and let it warm your heart.


October 4 & 6: Q&A with director Keiko Tsuruoka


Supported by

Media Partner


Mayu Hotta, Ryota Bando, Toshiya Miyata, Reiko Kataoka, Kaoru Kobayashi

Country of Origin







In Japanese with English subtitles

Film Contact
118 min
Drama LGBTQIA2S+ Women Directors

Book Tickets

This event has passed.



Natsuko Mori, Hitoshi Endo, Tatsuya Matsuoka, Koichiro Fukuoka


Keiko Tsuruoka, Kensaku Kojima


Wataru Takahashi


Shinichi Fushima

Production Design

Hinako Kasuga

Original Music

Hiroki Nakano


Keiko Tsuruoka headshot

Keiko Tsuruoka

Born in Nagano Prefecture in 1988, Keiko Tsuruoka began making movies while attending Rikkyo University. Her graduation work, Town of Whales (2012), won the Grand Prize at the 2012 PIA Film Festival and was shown at the Berlin IFF, the Busan IFF and many other film festivals around the world. She directed her second film My First Love (2013), which was presented at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Filmography: Town of Whales (2012); My First Love (2013); Lingering Memories (2015); Utsuroi no hyohonbako (2016); Makuko (2019)

Missing VIFF? Check out what's playing at the VIFF Centre

Pather Panchali

Satyajit Ray's first film opened eyes in the West. It's a naturalistic portrait of the childhood of a Brahman child, Apu, growing up in a village far from twentieth century technology in West Bengal.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

The Night of the Hunter

One of the strangest and most beguiling movies you'll ever see, from a poetic, nightmarish novel by Davis Grubb, a fable about two children fleeing from a psychotic evangelical preacher (Robert Mitchum). Charles Laughton's only film as director.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

The Battle of Algiers

French Colonel Mathieu hunts for Algerian resistance leader Ali la Pointe in Pontecorvo's classic, which draws the battle lines between colonialists and Arab insurrectionists in a pulsating, "fly-on-the-wall" documentary style.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre


Jacques Tati was modernity's clown; technology his banana skin. Here his alter-ego Monsieur Hulot navigates a sterile Paris that seems designed to thwart his every wish.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre