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Genpin

In-Person screening

Maltings Main House
23 September 2018, 15:45 – 17:17

Naomi Kawase is amongst the most renowned of contemporary Japanese filmmakers and Genpin is a sensually shot documentary revelation. In the heart of a dense Okazaki city forest, we follow Dr. Tadashi Yoshimura, midwives and expectant mothers during four seasons at a natural childbirth clinic. Employing centuries old practices that often run askew from contemporary medicine, Kawase’s tender film oscillates between the intimate moments of joy, pain and doubt in honouring this way of life.

The title Genpin recalls the words of the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu: ‘The valley spirit never dies / It is named the mysterious woman (genpin).’ In the film, Yoshimura reflects on the relationship between childbirth and death, and observes—more as a human being than a doctor—that to deny death is to deny life. Life born into this world, life that ends at the moment of birth, life that ends before birth. Lives do not cease as a solitary life but are carried on by the species, and continue. Through the flux of the Japanese seasons, Naomi Kawase entered the circle of the women giving birth at the Yoshimura Clinic and the world of Dr. Yoshimura—who has spent 40 years on the path of natural childbirth—and wove the footage she shot with her own 16mm camera into this film.

Content Notes

Naomi Kawase is amongst the most renowned of contemporary Japanese filmmakers. Genpin her sensually shot and seldom seen 16mm film is a revelation. Deep in the heart of a dense forest, Kawase's camera follows Dr. Tadashi Yoshimura, his midwives and patients during four seasons at the Yoshimura natural childbirth clinic. Employing centuries-old practices aimed at maintaining healthy bodies and positive minds this tender documentary oscillates between intimate moments with the expectant mothers and the changing world in and around the clinic.

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Date: 2022-09-28 09:49:55
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Genpin

Naomi Kawase is amongst the most renowned of contemporary Japanese filmmakers and Genpin is a sensually shot documentary revelation. In the heart of a dense Okazaki city forest, we follow Dr. Tadashi Yoshimura, midwives and expectant mothers during four seasons at a natural childbirth clinic. Employing centuries old practices that often run askew from contemporary medicine, Kawase’s tender film oscillates between the intimate moments of joy, pain and doubt in honouring this way of life.

The title, Genpin, overlays the words of the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, ‘The valley spirit never dies / It is named the mysterious woman (genpin).’ In the film, the obstetrician Yoshimura Tadashi reflects on the relationship between childbirth and death, and observes, more as a human being than a doctor, that to deny death is to deny life. Life born into this world, life that ends at the moment of birth, life that ends before birth. Lives do not cease as a solitary life, but are carried on by the species, and continue. Through the flux of the Japanese seasons, Naomi Kawase entered the circle of the women giving birth at the Yoshimura Clinic and the world of Dr. Yoshimura, who has spent 40 years on the path of natural childbirth, and wove the footage she shot with her own 16mm camera into this film.

Director

Naomi Kawase

Production Country

Japan

Production Year

2010

Duration

92 mins

Dialogue Language

Japanese

Subtitle Language

English