SUZAKU (1997)

Fiction Feature


Location is a village dependent on the timber industry. When the economic recession hit in 1971, many left the area.
In the same year, the plan was launched to dig a train tunnel to improve the accessibility of the area. Family head Tahara Kozo, who lives a modest life with his mother Sachiko, wife Yasuyo, his nephew Eisuke and darling daughter Michiru, takes an intensive interest in the construction of the tunnel. It becomes his dream for the future. But then the construction of the tunnel is halted half way.
Fifteen years later the Tahara family is poor and Eisuke maintains it: he works at a inn outside the village. Yasuyo takes a part-time job in the same inn. Michiru, who has always regarded Eisuke as a brother, starts to feel more deeply fond of him.
One day Kozo leaves the house with his 8mm camera and disappears into the tunnel on his own.
Kawase Naomi (27) has earlier examined the theme of the family in two impressive short documentaries. In this feature début, time or rather the timeless nature of life in a remote village plays an important role. With feeling for subtleties and details Kawase portrays the area in which she grew up. The well-known actor Kunimura Hajime plays the father, the other roles are mainly played by non-professional actors.

Award / Invitation

Caméra d'Or, Festival de Cannes 1997
FIPRESCIE, International Film Festival Rotterdam
Best Actress Award, Singapore International Film Festival
Distribution of Quality Film Prize, the Royal Film Archive of Belgium

Crews & Productions

Writer/Director Naomi Kawase
Cinematographer Masaki Tamura
Lighting Designer Atsuko Suzuki
Sound Designer Osamu Takizawa
Set Designer Etsuko Yoshida
Composer Masamichi Shigeno
Editor Shuichi Kakesu
Producer Takenori Sento Koji Kobayashi


Machiko ONO
Sachiko IZUMI

Written & Directed by: Naomi Kawase
Produced by: Wowow, BANDAI VISUAL
Production : KUMIE Inc.
Distribution : Bitters End