Yesterday I attended the first screening of the Japan Foundation “Once Upon a Time in Japan” touring film festival, and saw Rebirth (or Youkame no Semi as it is known in Japanese).
Based on a popular novel by Mitsuyo Kakuta, Rebirth tells the story of a woman, Ninomiya Kiwako, who kidnaps the baby of a married man who she has had an affair with, after she is forced to abort their own child. She renames the child Kaoru and raises her for four years as her own, until she is discovered and arrested for abduction. Kaoru is returned to her birth parents as Erina, so they can finally be a family. However, things aren’t that simple. When Erina grows up, she embarks on a journey back to the past to remember her time as Kaoru.
When this film was released in Japan, it won 11 award at the 2012 Japanese Academy Awards. And after watching it yesterday I can understand why. It is a truly emotional movie that depicts wonderfully this idea of nature versus nurture. It is touching and moving to the point that my friend was in absolute tears by the end, and as I looked around the theatre I saw a few more pulling tissues out of their bags. I’ll admit my eyes were a little watery too. This film is deserving of its numerous awards, so if you can, I definitely recommend that you watch it.
The touring film festival continues until the 7th at the ICA, just book your tickets online for some more amazing Japanese cinema! 😉