Family Drama ‘Close-Knit’ to Be Screened at WLA UMC

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A scene from Naoko Ogigami’s “Close-Knit.”

“Close-Knit” (2017, 128 minutes), written and directed by Naoko Ogigami, will be shown on Friday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m. at West Los Angeles United Methodist Church, 1913 Purdue Ave. in Los Angeles.

In her first film in five years, New Wave director Ogigami, whose previous films include “Glasses” (Megane) and “Seagull Diner” (Kamome Shokudo), offers another take on the Japanese family and brings to light the status of the LGBTQ community and transgender rights in Japan today.

Known in Japan as “Karera ga Honki de Amu Toki wa,” this sensitive and thought-provoking exploration of an unconventional family’s unconditional love won the Teddy Jury Award ad the Berlin International Film Festival and the International Achievement Award at the 2017 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival.

At 11, Tomo learned self-sufficiency early on. Her mother regularly disappears for days, sometimes weeks, leaving Tomo to raise herself. Uncle Makio takes Tomo in until her mother resurfaces, but he explains that things are different: he now lives with his transgender girlfriend Rinko.

Tomo is shy at first, but gradually the unfamiliar domesticity of this loving household begins to feel like home. The trio form a family unit, comically embarking on a knitting project to commemorate Rinko’s legal name change.

As they are labeled a “freak family” by her classmates and interrogated by child protective services, Tomo’s growing awareness of prejudice draw her even closer to Rinko.

The cast includes Rinka Kakihara, Toma Ikuta, Kenta Kiritani, Lily, Eiko Koike and Misako Tanaka.

Since 2011, WLA UMC has been offering the opportunity to view and enjoy the collaborative nature of Japan’s traditions, history and culture through both award-winning contemporary and rare classic feature films on the last Friday of each month. This year’s series concludes on Oct. 27 with “Hachiko Monogatari” (1987, 107 minutes), based on the true story of the loyal Akita dog who waited for his deceased master at the train station every day for nearly a decade.

Admission is free. For more information on the church, call (310) 479-1379 or visit http://wlaumc.com.

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