Roaming an alley under the dazzling sun, or wandering in search of something, the eye of the camera is constantly on the move. Twin brothers Shun and Kei run out into the alley that the camera wandered about in. Then, unexpectedly, Kei disappears. He is gone without a trace. After Kei’s disappearance the family’s life stands still. Five years pass and younger brother Shun is a high school student, ceaselessly drawing his lost brother on canvas in the art club. Mother is pregnant. Yu is the childhood friend who silently watches over Shun. When the time comes for the Basara Festival everybody is feverishly excited. Through the festival, everybody regains their vigor. Things that stood still start to move again, and in people’s faces a faint smile starts to spread. Mother gives birth. The new life releases everyone from their restraints and all can take a step forward from the place where they have been standing for so long.
This is a film by director Kawase Naomi, remarkable for being the youngest ever director to receive the New Director’s Award at the Cannes Film Festival for Suzaku(1997). Constantly putting her lens on the lives around her, Kawase has concentrated on the question of “What is the family?”. Shara is also a work on the theme of the “family”; a story of what happens when a family is unprepared for the sudden loss of a loved one and has to go on living with the pain vivid inside. The original Japanese title of Shara, Shara s셣u, stands for the four pairs of trees that surrounded Buddha when he entered nirvana. Kawase Naomi played the role of the mother in the film, shot in 16mm and finished in just ten days. (Yun Yong-soon)
Kawase NaomiKawase Naomi
Born in the Nara Prefecture in 1969. After graduating from the Osaka School of Photography in 1989, Kawase Naomi worked as a lecturer at the school for four years. After various short films, she began a career as a documentarist, earning immediate international recognition. In 1993, she made an 8mm documentary film Embracing, recording the search for her lost father. Her 1995 documentary See Heaven portrays her grandmother who raised her. Kawase then directed first feature Suzaku in 1997 and the film won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Her films include A Kaleidoscope(1999), Hotaru(2000) and Kya Ka Ra Ba A(2001).