Film Review of Close-Knit at BFI Flare

I was deeply moved by this film, I laughed out loud, I cried tears of joy, sadness and frustration throughout the whole 127 minutes of this exquisite film.

Close-Knit was directed and written by Naoko Ogigami who also wrote and directed ‘Rent-a-Cat’ in 2012. Rinka Kakihara, who plays Tomo, one of the main characters of the film, gives such a mature performance and has great onscreen chemistry with Toma Ikuta, who plays Rinko, Tomo’s uncles Trans Gender girlfriend. This film is such a treat to watch as it shows that alternative family structures do work and can be even better in many ways.

The film starts with 11-year old Tomo feeding her self with shop-bought rice balls and her mother is no where to be seen. This is not the first time this has happened and this time Tomo seeks help from her Uncle Makio, played by Kenta Kiritani, but now her uncle has someone special in his life, which makes Tomo feel like her nose has been put out of joint, particularly when we are shown the Wii games score board and she is no longer top of the leaderboard.

Close-Knit knittingThroughout the film challenges are put in the way of the newly-made family, with peoples opinions getting in the way of life. Tomo is wanting to be part of a family and Rinko finds herself wanting one. Rinko shows Tomo ways to kerb her frustration when people upset her through knitting. This is a way for Rinko to say what she wanted to say, but would be disrespectful at the time and Tomo learns to do this well too.

The parallel stories are what brings everything to a head with Tomo’s school friend dealing with his own sexuality and his mother is not happy about this and the relationship between Toro’s mother and Toro’s grandmother, who is suffering with dementia, as Rinko is caring for her in a home where Makio and Rinko first met. There are some brilliant scenes that cover taboo subjects, as in what happened to Rinko’s pee pee when she completed her transition.

Close-Knit blossomThere are some beautiful scenes of the three cycling through cherry blossomed avenues to knitting together on days out by the beach. The main piece of music, which some of you may recognise, is a great backdrop to this breath-taking cinematography. There are some great moments when Rinko cooks for Tomo who as we know has had some naf food choices in the past, but is overjoyed with the benko she is presented for lunch with kitten shaped rice and octopus shaped hotdogs. Word of warning however, do not go to see this film if you haven’t eaten already as you will be salivating throughout and get food envy at the delicious meals that are presented before the characters.

I would re-watch, and recommend this film to anyone in a heart beat due to its innocence and spectacular cast and cinematography.

 Close Knit bench 

5 star film review of Close-Knit on Planet NationClose-Knit Synopsis

After being neglected by her mother, a little girl is taken in by her uncle and his transsexual girlfriend, who create a loving home for her.

The Close-Knit Trailer


The full 2018 BFI Flare programme is available herebut highlights of additional activities to the film screenings include:(link is external)

  • Talks with established film and television professionals who are leading the way in LGBTQ+ representation on screen.
  • Workshops and Labs focusing on creating LGBTQ+ media with specific sessions around challenges in development, funding and exhibition.
  • Networking opportunities throughout the Festival with a range of receptions with film and television professionals included in the Delegate Package. 

BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival 2018About BFI Flare

BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, formerly known as the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, is the biggest LGBT film festival in Europe. It takes place every spring in London, England