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A man in front of a blooming tree.

SFFILM Festival

Great Absence

Directed by Kei Chika-ura

Japan | Fiction | 152

25 Apr
Thu, Apr 25 at 8:15 pm PT
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An emotional depiction of father/son estrangement, a decades-long love story that takes on multiple shades, and, most centrally, a portrait of dementia, Kei Chika-ura’s remarkable drama begins when police raid elderly Yohji’s home before shifting forwards and backwards through time to explain the circumstances that led to the crisis. Though it starts with a bang, the film is more interested in the quieter shocks that permeate the lives of Yohji, his actor son Takashi, and Naomi, the woman Yohji’s lived with since the departure of Takashi’s mom. Unraveling the nuances of these relationships is part of the pleasure of watching Great Absence, but its essence is Yohji’s decline into senility, enveloping everyone around him. Tatsuya Fuji is unforgettable as the alternately raging, wounded, and confused patriarch and deservedly won the Best Actor prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Director Kei Chika-ura

Kei Chika-ura studied economics and film history at the University of Osaka and learned filmmaking on the job, working for different production companies. His short films include Empty House (2013), The Lasting Persimmon (2015), and Signature (2017), winner of the Grand Prix at the Sapporo International Short Film Festival and Market. He made his feature debut with Complicity (2018), recipient of an audience award at Tokyo FILMeX.

Film Details

Language Japanese

Original Language Title 大いなる不在

Year 2023

Premiere US

Runtime 152

Country Japan

Director Kei Chika-ura

Producer Kei Chika-ura, Miho Horiike

Writer Kei Chika-ura, Keita Kumano

Editor Kei Chika-ura

Cinematographer Yutaka Yamazaki

Music Koji Itoyama

Cast Mirai Moriyama, Tatsuya Fuji

Closed Captions Closed Captions are not yet confirmed for this program

Audio Description Audio Descriptions are not yet confirmed for this program

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpretation American Sign Language Interpretation is not currently scheduled for this film