Skip to content
30 Jan – 9 Feb 2025

Kawase Naomi

Award-winning filmmaker, writer and producer KAWASE Naomi (1969, Japan) is well-known for her documentary style and semi-autobiographical approach to filmmaking. Her filmography is an intimate and personal treatment of family relationships, tradition, and the beauty of nature while seamlessly merging fiction and reality. Born and raised in Nara, Kawase graduated directing at the Visual Arts College in Osaka in 1989. She started out by making short autobiographical documentaries, but soon turned to features. Her debut feature Suzaku (1997) made her the youngest director to receive the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. She also helped to establish the Nara International Film Festival in 2010, and is the producer and senior advisor for the 2025 World Expo in Osaka as well as the Chair of the Women’s Japan Basketball League. She was selected by the International Olympic Committee to direct the official film of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Both parts were selected for IFFR 2023.

Filmography

(selection) Ni tsutsumarete/Embracing (1992, short doc), Katatsumori (1994, short doc), Ten, mitake/See Heaven (1995, short doc), Hi wa katabuki/The Setting Sun (1996, doc), Arawashi yo (Ôfuku shokan Kawase Naomi × Koreeda Hirokazu)/This World (1996, doc), Somaudo monogatari/The Weald (1997, doc), Moe no Suzaku/Suzaku (1997), Mangekyo/Kaleidoscope (1999, doc), Hotaru/Firefly (2000), Kya Ka Ra BaA/Sky, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth (2001, doc), Tsuioku no dansu/Letter from a Yellow Cherry Blossom (2002, doc), Sharasôju/Shara (2003), Kage/Shadow (2004, short doc), Tarachime/Birth/Mother (2006, short doc), Mogari no mori/The Mourning Forest (2007), Nanayomachi/ Nanayo (2008), Hanezu no tsuki/Hanezu (2011), Futatsume no mado/Still the Water (2014), An/Sweet Bean (2015), Hikari/Radiance (2017), Vision (2018), Official Film of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Side A (2022, doc), Official Film of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Side B (2022, doc). 

More info: Kawase Naomi

Kawase Naomi at IFFR

  • birth/mother

    Intimate and unvarnished diary film. The film maker managed to combine bearing a child and filming and films her own grandmother more naked than a por

    • Short: As Long As It Takes
  • Official Film of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Side B

    An unflinching look at the controversial side of the world’s foremost sports competition in turmoil.

    • Harbour
  • Official Film of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Side A

    Kawase’s discreetly subversive document of the Olympic Games is an extraordinary accomplishment in scale and elegance.

    • Harbour
  • Letter from a Yellow Cherry Blossom

    Intimate portrait of a dying friend. Not always easy to watch, but a very moving image of approaching death, albeit painful.

    • Signals: Peter Liechti
  • The Mourning Forest

    A young nurse gets lost in a mysterious forest together with an older patient. A dark green and dripping forest that seems to have been here since pri

    • Sturm und Drang
  • Hotaru

    Sensitive and psychologically sound portrait of the relationship between two people who try to conquer the setbacks in their existence in order to ent

    • main programme features
  • Letter from a Yellow Cherry Blossom

    Intimate portrait of a dying friend. Not always easy to watch, but a very moving image of approaching death, albeit painful.

    • True Stories
  • Chiri

    Intimate video poem of the filmmaker’s foster mother/granny. Perhaps intimate isn’t a strong enough term. A tender type of candidness.

    • Spectrum Shorts
  • Inori

    At the invitation of Japanese director Naomi Kawase, González-Rubio (maker of Alamar, Tiger Winner in 2010) made this beautiful prize-winning document

    • Spectrum
  • Shara

    Kawase’s captivating third feature is about a family that faces the sudden and inexplicable loss of a child. Spastic traditions in modern Japan, with

    • main programme features