A remarkable achievement in humanistic cinema, Kawase Naomi’s The Mourning Forest (a.k.a. Mogari no Mori) won the Grand Prix at the 30th Cannes Film Festival. Japan’s leading female director, Kawase won the Cannes Camera d’Or in 1997 for her debut feature Moe no Suzaku, and a decade later, she shows exactly how far she has come with The Mourning Forest. The director spent the ten years in between often pointing the camera at her own life with autobiographical documentaries like Tarachime and Sky, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth, and this same sensitive, subtle, and observant eye is cast on the protagonists of her latest film. Following the physical and emotional journey of two unlikely sojourners, The Mourning Forest moves at a ponderous pace through strikingly beautiful natural environments to create a quiet hymn of warmth, tragedy, and poetic beauty.
No longer clear of mind in the senior years of his life, Shigeki (Shigeki Uda) lives in a rural nursing home, holding on to what memory he has left of his late wife Mako. Unpredictable and at times rough and feisty, Shigeki takes an interest in new caretaker Machiko (Ono Machiko, Moe no Suzaku, Eureka), a young woman still coping with the recent death of her son. The two develop a close friendship, finding in each other an inexplicable source of warmth and healing as they quarrel, giggle, and embark on minor adventures. During a car trip, Shigeki wanders off on his own into the forest and Machiko follows, unable to stop him on his quest to find Mako. Faced with cold temperatures and untrodden paths, the two journey through the night and day to a destination that beckons from their minds..
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