Japan has announced their pick for 2020’s Academy Awards race, Naomi Kawase’s delicate family drama True Mothers as their contender of choice.
The film is based on a novel by mystery writer Mizuki Tsujimura. Dive into the world of True Mothers, and follow the story of a middle-class Japanese couple who turn to an adoption agency for a baby after learning they can’t conceive. Their incipient happiness then gets turned upside-down when their son’s biological mother shows up and demands him back.
The True Mothers film was selected by the Cannes Film Festival — where Kawase first came to international prominence in 1997, winning the Camera D’Or prize for Suzaku — before the 2020 edition of the French event was forced to cancel in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The film instead premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September before screening at San Sebastian.
Japan has had 12 submissions nominated in the best international feature film category, most recently Hirokazu Kore-eta’s Cannes Palme D’or winner Shoplifters in 2019. Yōjirō Takita’s Departures (2009) is the only Japanese feature to win the category though.