TEDDY AWARD WINNERS 2017
Special Jury Award
Karera ga Honki de Amu toki wa (Close-Knit)
Eleven-year-old Tomo is pretty much left to her own devices. Unwashed dishes are piling up in the sink and supermarket onigiri are all there is to eat again. Tomo’s single mother usually comes home late, and drunk. When she leaves her daughter for good one day the girl has to rely on help from her uncle, who takes in Tomo to live with him and his girlfriend Rinko. At their first meeting Tomo is flabbergasted to discover that Rinko is a transsexual. Rinko immediately sets about taking care of Tomo; not only does she lovingly prepare meals but she also succeeds in creating a new home for the girl. But before long cracks appear in their perfect nest. As in her last film Rentaneko (Panorama 2012) Japanese director Naoko Ogigami offers another story about finding a way out of one’s loneliness; in the case of Tomo and her new family the solution is a mixture of human warmth, good food and the symbolic act of knitting. In quietly concentrated images the film portrays non-normative sexuality as a natural way of life and describes the value of families that are defined not by convention but by a loving, caring environment.
Statement of the Jury:
The jury gives the special award to the film „Close-Knit“, a film which gives audiences a look into Japanese culture and the love of rainbow families through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl. Both the performances of the adults and the child actress are convincing and enjoyable. Filmmaker Naoko Ogigami’s natural dialogues and her sense of humour make for a very special movie experience. Ogigami puts emphasis on unique details such as the knitted objects, beautiful cinematography and the universal appeal of an uplifting, yet realistic story.