Born Bone Born
Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2019
concession £7, members £6.50
Length: 111 mins
Director: Toshiyuki Teruya
Cast: Ayame Misaki, Eiji Okuda, Michitaka Tsutsui
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
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.
“A gentle and sometimes absurdist comedy about funerary rites in Japan, one filled with genuine emotion – even if it is punctuated by regular laughs.” – The Reel Bits
““Born Bone Born” is a very easy to watch and quite entertaining film, that also gives the opportunity to learn about a rare custom and life in Okinawan islands.” – Asian Movie Pulse
With thanks to Major Sponsors JAL, Yakult, Sasakawa and Sponsors in Kind Japan Centre, Okinawa Film Office.
Image: Bone Born Bone © 2018 “Senkotsu” Production Committee