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Naomi Kawase: 'masterpiece' worth the Palme D'Or

Monday, May 12, 2014

Japanese director Naomi Kawase.

TOKYO - Naomi Kawase, the first Japanese director to be a member of the Cannes jury, returns to competition this year with a film she has dubbed her "masterpiece".

And for an auteur who has already bagged the Camera D'Or and the Grand Prix, her sights are set on the top honour - the Palme D'or.

"There is no doubt that this is my masterpiece," she said of 'Futatsume no mado' (literally, 'The second window', but titled in English 'Still the Water') which has been selected to compete in this year's premiere competition.

"This is the first time that I have said this about a film.

"After the Camera D'Or and the Grand Prix, there is nothing I want more than the Palme D'Or. I have my eyes on nothing else."

Kawase, a 44-year-old divorcee and mother is a high achiever in Japanese cinema and one of only two women in contention for the main prize at Cannes this year.

Her work, including the disturbing "Genpin", a documentary about natural childbirth, is much admired for its elucidation of the human condition.

Kawase's parents were already separated by the time she was born. They divorced when she was around 18 months old.

"I was raised by my aunt's family (my grandparents were also divorced, so that my mother could not ask them for help). My aunt didn't have a child, so she and her husband took care of me like their real daughter."

That family has remained central to her throughout her adult life - surviving the death of her adoptive father at the age of 14, she remains living with her adoptive mother to this day.

In her 1992 work "Ni tsutsumarete", she explores the meaning of her family and her own identity, looking at her search for the father she never knew.

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