Karera Ga Honki De Amu Toki Wa
Gateway | Dragons & Tigers
Tender, touching and laced with humour, Naoko Ogigami’s film is also an act of courage. It tells the story of Tomo (Rinka Kakihara), a girl of 11 abandoned by her negligent mother (Mimura). Uncle Makio (Kenta Kiritani) is glad to take her in, but the welcome comes with a gentle warning: his live-in partner is a bit "unusual." She’s played by Ikuta Toma, one of Japan’s hottest young stars, and he steals the show with his note-perfect turn. That’s right: girlfriend Rinko is a trans woman—a surprise to Tomo and the source of her awakening. As this young girl gets an education in diversity, she also comes to see a world of human possibility that will change her life.
Ogigami directs with the gentlest of touches, but, however tranquil, her movie is forthright in its politics: it’s a portrait of difference without shame, defiance without apology. Rinko is a figure of pride, and it’s her example that gives the film its force in a world still marked by transphobia. Brave as an actor, graceful as a woman and convincing in his every gesture, Toma is the cornerstone of the film. In his character we see a beauty beyond the physical—an ideal of love for us all.
"Gentle, sweet-souled…this is a nuanced, softly lit family portrait, with compassion and conflict held carefully in balance."—Guy Lodge, Variety
Teddy Jury Award, Berlin 17; Audience Award, NY Asian Film Festival 17