From a Japanese artist who based her artworks on female genitalia, to unregistered individuals, to a teacher who was fired because she refused to stand for the national anthem – litigation lawyers Masafumi Yoshida and Kazuyuki Minami have defended them all in court.

Not just known for defending society misfits, Fumi and Kazu are famous for being partners in love and law. You see, they are an openly gay couple who set up a law firm and are running it together – something unheard of in Japan. As lawyers driven by their own experiences of being outsiders, they attract a range of clients who reveal the absurdities of a country that prides itself for collective obedience, politeness and conformity.

Exploring the theme of acceptance this year, Golden Village’s 10th Love & Pride Film Festival will open on the evening of October 4 (Thursday) with Of Love & Law, a documentary which follows the professional and private lives of Fumi and Kazu. This film won the the Firebird Award for Best Documentary at Hong Kong International Film Festival 2018, as well as the Best Film Award at Tokyo International Film Festival 2018’s Independent Japanese Cinema category – which automatically puts it in the running for an Oscar next year.

Surprisingly watchable with English subtitles, Of Love And Law casts the spotlight on lesser-known contradictions in Japanese society.

One of the law firm’s clients is Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, known as Rokudenashiko (or Good-For-Nothing Girl), who was arrested and thrown into prison for a brief period in 2014. She had been charged for displaying obscene objects after building a kayak and making figurines modeled on her vagina. For a country where one can find all manner of sex shops (but prostitution is illegal) and multi-storey department stores selling adult toys, can you imagine how ludicrous this charge is? She was later found partially not guilty.

And with more than 10,000 unregistered people in Japan who cannot exercise their basic rights, it’s no surprise that at least one or two of them have found their way to Fumi and Kazu. Unregistered people are those whose identity cannot be registered – the prevailing reason being that they were born out of wedlock. They cannot get legally married, obtain a passport, get a driver’s licence – among many other things an average Japanese citizen is entitled to.

Other than exposing the injustices and contradictions of Japanese society, the film poses universal questions about what it takes to be an individual, what it means to be a minority, and what role a family plays in a polarised world.

Intrigued? Of Love & Law will only be screened twice during GV’s Love & Pride Film Festival, happening from October 4 to 14. If you catch it on the opening night, you can even get to speak with Ms Hikaru Toda, the director, via Skype. To check out the other five titles which will be screened during this festival, click here.

 

Details

Where: GV Grand, Great World City
When: Oct 4, 2018, Thursday; reception at 7.30pm, movie at 8.30pm
What: Reception with light refreshments, photo booth, one free glass of alcohol; post-screening Q&A session via Skype with the director Hikaru Toda.
Price: $23 (GVMC member), $25 (public)

Click here to get your tickets.

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