My Small Land

Director: Emma Kawawada
Origin: Japan (2022)
Language: Japanese, Kurdish, Turkish with English subtitles

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Hirokazu Kore-eda protégé Emma Kawawada makes her directorial debut with this heart-rending drama exploring the little-seen world of Kurdish asylum seekers in Japan.

Seventeen-year-old high schooler Sarya (impressively played by first-time performer Lina Arashi) has lived in Japan since she was five, when her Kurdish parents fled Turkey as refugees. With university on the horizon, Sarya’s future is looking up – despite being weighed down by cultural expectations that sully a blossoming romance with her Japanese co-worker. But then her father’s application for asylum is rejected. Made unwelcome in the only home she’s really known, Sarya’s world is torn apart.

Kawawada is a member of Bun-Buku, the production company headed up by Palme d’Or–winning director Kore-eda (Shoplifters, MIFF 2018; Like Father, Like Son, MIFF 2013), for whom she served as assistant director on The Third Murder (MIFF 2018). Like her mentor, she has a gift for humanistic observation and a knack for eliciting authentic performances, here making for a striking debut that holds Japan’s restrictive asylum policy to account. Awarded a Special Mention by the Amnesty International jury at this year’s Berlinale, My Small Land powerfully calls for compassion and acceptance in a divisive society.

“A fictional story rooted in an unsettling reality … Kawawada hits all the right notes in this sensitive social drama.” – Time Out

Please note: MIFF’s full program will launch on Tuesday 12 July. Tickets will be available to MIFF Members from Tuesday 12 July and to the general public from Friday 15 July.

If you require any access service, such as wheelchair/step-free access, for any MIFF session, please email boxoffice@miff.com.au to book your ticket.

Key Cast
Daiken Okudaira, Lina Arashi
Director
Emma Kawawada
Producers
Hiromi Morishige, Megumi Banse
Screenwriter
Emma Kawawada
Cinematographer
Hidetoshi Shinomiya
Editor
Shinichi Fushima
Production Designer
Hyeonsun Seo
Premiere Status
Australian Premiere