Embracing. 1992. Japan. Directed by Naomi Kawase. In Japanese; English subtitles. 40 min.
Embracing captures Kawase’s restless pursuit to know her absent birth father. Silent fields of windblown daisies and wheat are juxtaposed with probing offscreen conversations with Kawase’s foster mother (“grandmother”), mother, and father as she explores the meaning of family and happiness.
Kya Ka Ra Ba A (Sky, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth). 2001. Japan/France. Directed by Naomi Kawase. In Japanese; English subtitles. 50 min.
Nearly a decade after making Embracing, Kawase began this sequel about her family, and learns that her birth father has passed away. She connects the threads between her original search for him, the aging “grandparents” who took her in as an infant and adopted her, her birth mother’s insistence that she was always planned and wanted, and her unfulfilled longings. She consults with a tattoo artist about getting a tattoo like her father’s and he offers his advice.