Amine Bouhafa x Naomi Kawase
It seems as if Amine Bouhafa, born on 10 July 1986 in Tunis, was a child prodigy. He was just three when he exchanged a toy piano given to him by his mother for a real one. Studies at the conservatory began when he was five and he was barely twelve when he graduated. He wrote his first film score at fifteen. Composing did fade into the background after that, as engineering studies followed in Paris and at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. However, thanks to Schindler's List, among others, film music did continue to attract his attention. Music became the main reason why he went to the cinema and remained interested in film.
An intense career switch followed in 2012. Amine Bouhafa quit his job at France Telecom and made composing his main profession. His international breakthrough followed two years later with the much-awarded music for Abderrahmane Sissako's Timbuktu. Other well-known film scores include those for Looking for Oum Kulthum, Gagarine, Les Harkis, Le temps d'aimer, Sous les figues and Les filles d'Olfa. He also worked full time for TV films and wrote a ballet and a symphonic suite, among others. Amine Bouhafa prides himself on remaining rooted in the Arab world but at the same time being internationally appreciated. He unites classical music with world music and integrates Western with Eastern lyricism. Again and again with the intention of using music to give the film a third dimension.
When Naomi Kawase, who was born in Nara, Japan, on 30 May 1969, studied at the Osaka School of Photography, she chose her absent father as a confrontational subject for a film. After all, she was abandoned by her parents when they split up, and raised by her grandfather's older sister. It became a key moment in Kawase's life, as the school assignment was the beginning of the search for the father, a theme that recurs very often in her oeuvre. It starts with her short films, where not only the father but also her second mother are often poignantly addressed. Besides the theme of family, her native Nara plays an equally important role in her autobiographically coloured films. These themes come together in her first feature film Suzaku with which she won the Camera d'Or at Cannes in 1997.
She conquers an almost permanent foothold there and even films with the intention of winning the Golden Palm. In vain, so far. But even without that ultimate award, her films are part of the absolute top of the arthouse circuit. Just think of titles like The Mourning Forest, Vision, Still the Water, An, Radiance and True Mothers, her search for what being a mother really means. In between feature films, she also shot documentaries, culminating in a two-part documentary on the Tokyo Olympics. In Kawase's films, which usually also have a discreet but beautiful soundtrack, there is a lot of poetry that sometimes disguises suffering. With her camera in close-up, she always looks for the person inside.