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Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda

Cast: Jun Fubuki, Kasumi Arimura, Shinnosuke Mitsushima

Official Selection, 2020 BFI London Film Festival

Every episode of the TV series A Day-Off of Kasumi Arimura starts with real-life actress Kasumi Arimura, playing a fictionalized version of herself, being told on set that filming for the day has been called off. In this first episode, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, Kasumi takes the rare chance to pay her mother a visit at home, where she finds herself reckoning with the celebrity status that her well-intentioned mother can’t resist showing off, as well as the many changes that have taken place at home during her time away. Still coming to terms with her widowed mother’s new life, Kasumi’s visit is interrupted by an unexpected guest from her deceased father’s past, and complicated feelings of resentment and grief come to the fore.

Making his return to TV, the master of hard-hitting family drama has opted for a lighthearted slice of local life–especially after his Cannes-winning Shoplifters (SDAFF ‘18) and France-set The Truth. Without betraying his acute observations of home, Kore-eda and writer Sakura Higa take a simple premise about famous actors’ personal lives, and inflect a humanity and organic charm into the imagined interiority of an actress as she sheds her celebrity exterior and rediscovers being a daughter.

–Justin Nguyen