On the anniversary of their matriarch’s passing, the Shinjo family congregate in their ancestral village on remote Okinawan island of Aguni. In line with the ancient tradition practiced on the island, the family must carry out a senkotsu – or a bone washing ceremony – by exhuming the remains and ritualistically cleansing them.
Returning home from mainland Japan is unwed daughter Yuko (Ayame Misaki), who immediately sets local tongues wagging with her advanced pregnancy, while eldest son Tsuyoshi (Michitaka Tsutsui) lashes out at their estranged father any opportunity he gets as he nurses his own wounds. The two are dismayed to find that their widower father Nobutsuna (Eiji Okuda) had been drowning his sorrows in alcohol. As the clan prepares to bid a last farewell to their wife and mother, they might just find that the journey forces them to face several other unresolved issues.
Based on an acclaimed short of the same title, this is the second feature from Okinawan comedian Toshiyuki Teruya a.k.a. Gori. Light-hearted and humanistic in its approach, it is a rare opportunity to learn about a near-extinct regional custom, and a tender meditation on love, family, and coming to terms with grief.
The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019 features thoughtfully selected titles from Japan, all focusing on the theme of ‘Love’ and never before screened in the UK.
Offering a glimpse into the microcosm of relationships within Japanese society, three vignettes tell very different stories of love, loss and rejection.
Based on Rinzo Shiina’s absurdist novel, the film focuses on the microcosm of a house in 1950s Tokyo.