- Director: Naoko Ogigami
- Writer: Naoko Ogigami
A gentle story about a very big issue: Parenting. Who's fit, who's not, who decides?!?
Nowadays, trans*films have become ten-a-penny. Most follow a tired and tested formula, addressing the same issues, going down the same paths, coming to the same conclusions. So, when a film comes along that goes way off-piste regarding trans*issues, it's like a breath of fresh air.
Somewhat eccentric, always polite...Close-Knit is a well-mannered joy. Sure, there are the usual trans*tropes...but, they are not dwelt upon. Instead, Naoko Ogigami focuses on the budding [surrogate] mother/daughter relationship...as they find a commonality, a trust, a bond, an understanding...and, a love. Knitting becomes their thing...as to what they are knitting...well, you'll just have to see the film! No spoilers here!
Rin Kakihara is mesmerising as the little girl...she displays a rainbow of emotions...as she negotiates the unfamiliar territory she finds herself in. For a kid, trans*acceptance is no big deal, it's the adults we have to worry about...but, kids become adults! Such a positve message, such a positive film.
And...the last shot is an absolute classic!
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.