Naomi Kawase is a Japanese film director. She was the youngest person to win the Caméra d’Or (for best debut feature film) at the Cannes film festival, for Moe no suzaku .
Kawase began her career as a film director with autobiographical documentaries. Ni tsutsumarete (Embracing)  documented her search to find her father, whom she had not seen since early childhood, after her parents’ divorce.
In her second film, Katatsumori , Kawase portraited her great-aunt, who raised her. These and other intimate family themes are recurrent in Kawase’s nonfiction filmography between 1992 and 2012.
Since 1997, she also directed several critical acclaimed and multi awarded full-length feature films. In 2007, Kawase won the Grand Prix at Cannes for Mogari no mori (The Mourning Forest), which explored the themes of death and bereavement
that had dominated some of her earlier works.
21 OCT 16H30 BATALHA CENTRO DE CINEMA 80’
MASTERCLASS BY NAOMI KAWASE, WITH MODERATION BY LUCIANO BARISONE
In this masterclass, Naomi Kawase will focus mostly on her early works, the set of autobiographical and documentary-style films that, according to the director, allowed her to establish a con- nection with the world and led her to dedicate her life to cinema. These personal, intimate, domestic films – such as Embracing  and Katatsumori , where she explored her family history as well as her own identity – were essential in defining
a cinematographic sensibility that prevailed in her later work, including her fictional feature films best known by the public.
Self-representation, the body as filmic material, the horizon- tality of the matter/spirit and human/nature relations, the cinematographic authenticity (in the context of overcoming the documentary/fiction dichotomy) or the play between the visible and the invisible are some of the themes often discussed in cinephile reflections on the work of Naomi Kawase. It is also in the light of these and other topics that Kawase will tell us about her experience and her path as a film director.
Masterclass in partnership with the Instituto de Filosofia - Universidade do Porto
HOSTED BY: LUCIANO BARISONE
Luciano Barisone is an Italian journalist and film critic. Graduated in Literature and Ethnology. Collaborator of the Venice and Locarno festivals (1997-2010). Director of the Infinity - Alba International Film Festival (2002-2007), the Festival dei Popoli in Florence (2008-2010) and the Visions du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland (2011-2017). He is currently art producer, international consultant, and analyst for new film projects. Between 1997 and 2023 he was a jury member at over thirty international film festivals
20 OCT 18H00 BATALHA CENTRO DE CINEMA 110’
WITH THE DIRECTOR APPEARANCE
1994 | JAPAN | DOC | 40’
Two years after EMBRACING, Kawase Naomi films the everyday life with her grandma (adopted moth- er). The heart-warming pictures described through the growth of peas captures the audience’s mind.
1995 | JAPAN | DOC | 10’
The sequel to KATATSUMORI. The film revisits Ka- wase’s relationship with her “grandma”, capturing their love and attachment towards each other.
1996 | JAPAN | DOC | 45’
The last piece of the trilogy, following KATATSUMORI and SEE HEAVEN. Filming her “grandma” and herself, Kawase’s gaze and insights are cast upon the lovable beings in front of her eyes.
1992 | JAPAN | DOC | 40’
2001 | JAPAN | DOC | 50’
Kawase tries to come to terms with her late fa- ther, whom she never knew when growing up, and contemplates getting a tattoo like his.
21 OCT 18H00 BATALHA CENTRO DE CINEMA - SALA 1 100’
2004 | JAPAN | DOC | 26’
Kawase Naomi, whose work has consistently featured an absent father figure, meets “him” through the body of an actress. A critique on the personal film genre, as the staged situation reveals real emotions and subjectivity.
2006 | JAPAN | DOC | 39’
The director raises her voice in anger, blaming her foster mother for threatening to abandon her as a young girl. Her impatience with her foster mother’s senility, and her af- fectionate gaze on the aging naked body. The birth of her son. Twelve years after Katatsumori, her first film about her foster mother, the director depicts one life growing old and drawing closer to death even as another life is bestowed through birth. This moving work quietly juxtaposes the two.
2012 | JAPAN | DOC | 45’
Naomi Kawase was born into a world where her parents were absent. Her great aunt and uncle had no children, and soon after her birth she was placed in their care when they were already 65 years old. Chiri is the close obser- vation of the end of the life of her foster mother...
21 OUT 21H15 BATALHA CENTRO DE CINEMA - Sala 1 120'
2010 | JAPAN | DOC | 92’
The title, Genpin, overlays the words of the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, “The valley spirit never dies / It is named the mysterious woman (genpin).” In the film, the obstetrician Yoshimura Tadashi reflects on the relationship between childbirth and death, and observes, more as a human being than a doctor, that to deny death is to deny life. Life born into this world, life that ends at
the moment of birth, life that ends before birth. Lives do not cease as a solitary life, but are carried on by the species, and continue. Through the flux of the Japanese seasons, Naomi Kawase entered the circle of the women giving birth at the Yoshimura Clinic and the world of Dr. Yoshimura, who has spent 40 years on the path of natural childbirth, and wove the footage she shot with her own 16mm camera into this film.