Archive of films The Mourning Forest / Mogari no mori

Japan / France / Spain
2007, 97 min

Section: Open Eyes
Year: 2007

This is a story almost without plot, in which an old man showing signs of senility, and the young woman who looks after him, get lost in an impenetrable and desolate forest and, after long hours trying to overcome their fear, they are finally given a sense of liberation. A major role in the film is played by nature at her most majestic, in whose portrayal Naomi Kawase is an unrivalled master. Grand Prix at the 60th Cannes International Film Festival.


Shigeki, who is suffering from signs of senility, lives in a small retirement home in the care of a young nurse named Machiko. They both harbour the burdensome secret of having lost someone close. Machiko gets permission to take Shigeki on a trip in her car, but when it breaks down and Machiko wants to go to find help, Shigeko gets out of the car and walks into the nearby forest. Making sure she doesn’t lose sight of him, Machiko follows him into the deep and desolate wood until they are both lost and have to spend the night there. The second day they do not manage to find a way out either, but Shigeko doesn’t seem to mind, in fact he seems to have rediscovered his senses, and Machiko comes to understand that the old man believes he can find the place where his long-deceased wife is buried. She too begins to feel less tormented by her feelings of guilt over the death of her child. “Mogari denotes a time of mourning, or a place of mourning,” says the director. “In the region of Tawara, where the film takes place, the dead are buried without being cremated, and even today the villagers keep up the tradition of funeral processions.” The film, in which the majesty of nature plays a fundamental role, was awarded with the Grand Prix at the 60th Cannes IFF.

About the director

Naomi Kawase (b. 1969, Nara, Japan) graduated from the school of photography in Osaka, where she later taught. Her very first documentary films brought her success: Embracing (Ni tsutsumarete, 1992), and White Moon (Shiori tsuki, 1993). In 1995 she founded the Kumie production company. After more documentary titles, she completed her first feature film in 1997 with Moe no suzaku, which won a number of awards and was also presented at the Karlovy Vary IFF, as was Somaudu monogatari (1997). Her other work has included the feature films Firefly (Hotaru, 2000) and Shara (2003), and the documentaries Dans le silence du monde (2001), Tsuioku no dansu (2002), Kage (2004), Tarachime (2006).


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About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Open Eyes
Director: Naomi Kawase
Screenplay: Naomi Kawase
Dir. of Photography: Hideyo Nakano
Music: Masamichi Shigeno
Editor: Yuji Oshige, Tina Baz
Producer: Naomi Kawase
Production: Kumie Inc.
Cast: Shigeki Uda, Machiko Ono, Makiko Watanabe, Kanako Masuda, Yoichiro Saito
Contact: Dreamachine


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