True Mothers

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A couple living a settled life in Japan with their adoptive son receives a call from a woman demanding her child back. Amidst a rollercoaster of emotions, the two mothers are confronted with the essence of childbirth, adoption and motherhood. 

Kiyokazu and Satoko are a wealthy couple that has been unsuccessfully attempting to have a child. After a failed treatment for aspermia, they go to a non-profit organization for adoption and are paired with Hikari, a 14-year old girl whose pregnancy came out of pure adolescent love. Her narrow-minded family forces her to give the kid away, who is then raised by the couple, until Hikari unexpectedly reappears in their house six years later demanding her son back.

With a narrative constructed through long flashbacks and nostalgic shots of nature blossoming, the film is structured in two parts – one focused on Kiyokazu’s struggle to get pregnant, and the other on Hikari’s transformation from an innocent child to a hardened young woman. Adapted from a novel by Mizuki Tsujimura, the film reveals the two sides of the difficult experience of abandonment and adoption, resulting in a deeply warm and emotional family drama. Director Naomi Kawakase has developed a visual style that appears light and feminine, while exploring in a thorough and serious way what it means to be a "real" mother.

Please note: Screened with Norwegian subtitles.


Naomi Kawase (b. 1969) is a Japanese filmmaker. She is known for Suzaku (1997), Sweet Bean (2015), and Still the Water (2014). Her latest film, True Mothers (2020) was selected to represent Japan as the Best International Feature Film at the 2021 Academy Awards.


2018 Vision
2017 Hikari / Radiance
2015 An / Sweet Bean
2014 Futatsume no mado / Still the Water
2011 Hanezu no tsuki / Hanezu

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Friday 22. january

Kl 13:00
TIFF Digital


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