Mother’s Way, Daughter’s Choice
By: Don Morton | May 12, 2011 | Issue: 894 | One Comment | 2,558 views

Courtesy of Keiko Tsuyama

Title in Japan: Mother’s Way, Daughter’s Choice
Director: Kyoko Gasha
Year: 2009
Country: USA
Running Time: 80 min

TV Tokyo and later Reuters “reporter” Kyoko Gasha turned her back on job and husband and fled to New York City to free herself of Japan’s sexist, seniority-based employment system—making a minor name for herself in the Big Apple. Now she calls herself a “documentary filmmaker,” and offers this film to support that claim, despite the fact that, aside from a little polite praise from a handful of women’s film festivals, it has been universally and deservedly ignored. Cinematically speaking, it’s a meandering mess, unfocused and poorly written with crappy camera work. The wandering takes us repeatedly back to extended interviews with Kyoko herself, including justifications for her inflated sense of accomplishment. Fortunately, the four other Japan-NYC transplants she interviews are quite interesting. Had she stayed behind the camera and tightened everything up a bit, we’d have a pretty good half-hour TV program on a valid subject of interest to many. As it is, it’s an excellent example of bloated, narcissistic filmmaking. And a question: why confine the message to women? Men as well have benefitted from quitting Japan’s rigid strictures against merit-driven professional growth. On top of everything else, this is fake feminism.

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  • http://metropolis.co.jp/community/members/jccamp/ John Campbell

    My wife and I just saw this movie and we both thought it was terrific. Yes, it was all about herself, her mother, her daughter, her friends, etc–a totally personal movie. Not many people could get away with that–clearly she didn’t with your reviewer, who was somehow offended–but it is a shame if the review keeps people from seeing the film. I think many will be fascinated, and would appreciate the point that every single voice in that film was ambivalent about Japan and about her (in one case his) situation.

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