Programmed by Chantal Caux
In Japan there is a special way to grieve abortions. "Mizuko kuyo" meaning ‘water child memorial’ allows people to metaphorically return their unborn children to the sea. Inspired by this Buddhist ritual, the Japanese-American filmmaker confronts her own experience of abortion in the US.
A word from Tënk
Abortion is certainly an intimate and personal experience. The film Mizuko offers the narrative of an experience rooted in the culture of filmmaker and screenwriter Kira Dane. Straddling the U.S. and Japan, she tells her story through poetic narratives and beautifully colored drawings, all the while taking an indulgent and empathetic look at herself. Mizuko plunges the viewer into a kind of trance guided by this experience, where abortion is not treated through statistics or as a surgical procedure. While the procedure itself is presented from the narrator’s perspective in short blurred segments, abortion is portrayed through the emotions that inhabit it: stupefaction, then guilt, anxiety, reconciliation to a new self-definition and relief. These emotions, conveyed by the concept of water, bring about a new representation of one’s existence, which is no longer defined by life and death but by a continuity where body and spirit coexist, inseparable, all the while highlighting the duality of the sensory and spiritual paths of abortion.
Associate Professor in the Faculty of Nursing Sciences, University of Montréal
Member of the Editorial Committee, Frontières journal