Pregnancy and Birth
“Daughters” attentively depicts the physical and emotion changes that women go through during pregnancy and birth, from the early stages to the verge of bringing a child into the world.
In Japan, around 60% of women quit their jobs due to pregnancies and births, forcing them to make decisions that could alter their entire way of life. This film addresses that crucial turning point in women’s lives, and will no doubt be relatable and recognizable for many.
Tokyo’s Four Seasons
The third main character of “Daughters” is the scenery of Tokyo.
Our two protagonists have built successful lives in the inner city by sharing an apartment to cut down on living costs, and spend most of their money on entertainment, eating and drinking, and fashion. They symbolize the lifestyles of active Tokyo women. The backdrop is provided by the streetscapes of Tokyo. We see how its vibrant colors transform with the transitory four seasons over 10 months in the lives of the characters.
That scenery may change in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, so this film captures a record of the city at points in time prior to that major event. It delivers an unembellished and pure vision of Tokyo, created by and for Japanese, and the world.
Two International Stars Shine
Protagonist Koharu, who acts as a close companion and guardian to her pregnant friend, is played by Ayaka Miyoshi. After appearing in a music video for Taiwanese singer-songwriter Jay Chou, she has developed a huge fanbase in the Chinese-speaking world, and also taken roles in a succession of high-profile films such as “Dance With Me” (2019) and “Howling Village” (2020). Koharu’s roommate Ayano, who is determined to become a mother despite her uncertainty, is portrayed by Junko Abe, known for her lead performance in filmmaker Naomi Kawase’s Cannes International Film Festival competition entry “Still the Water” (2014).
Two close friends who share an apartment in metropolitan Tokyo come to reassess their own lifestyles and womanhood when one of them becomes pregnant.
Koharu and Ayano, both 27, share an apartment alongside a cherry tree-lined river right around the corner from downtown Tokyo. They work hard, play hard, and don’t need to think hard at all, as long as they’re having fun.
Change comes to their lives when Ayano suddenly becomes pregnant. She’s not sure who the father is, but decides to give birth nevertheless. Koharu also makes up her mind, to stay by Ayano’s side and support her.
The pregnancy gradually transforms their pleasure-seeking lifestyle and inseparable nature. Activities they took for granted become difficult. Ayano has no choice but to evolve, while Koharu struggles to adapt.
Following 10 months in the lives of these two young women, this film explores emotions that we all experience, such as yearning for the past and anxiety about the future, as seen through the filter of pregnancy.
■ 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival (2020)
- Asian New Talent Award Official Selection
- Ayaka Miyoshi (三吉彩花), Junko Abe (阿部純子)
- Written and Directed
- Hajime Tsuda (津田肇)
- Japan release
- September 18, 2020
- 104 min.
- Technical Specs
- Color / 1:1.85 / Digital / 5.1ch