Dear Diary

5:30 pm
M+ Cinema

The Sleeping Flower

Koguchi Utako
7 min


Chan Hau Chun
32 min


Naomi Kawase

This collection of diary films explores the complexities of family relationships, inter-generational trauma, and conflicts. Through intimate first-person narratives, each work documents the filmmaker's desire to establish emotional connections with different family members—an ageing grandmother, neglectful parents, an estranged father—while revisiting pivotal moments in their personal histories. Together, the films exemplify the genre's ability to present alternative modes of storytelling and to create new archives of memories and lived experiences.

In The Sleeping Flower (1991), director Koguchi Utako sensitively balances footage of her grandmother’s tranquil daily life with a fantastical funeral performance. The film culminates with Koguchi burying her grandmother under a snowy blanket of ethereal paper flowers, prompting both women contemplate the idea of mortality.

32+4 (2015) by Chan Hau Chun combines diaristic contemplation with face-to-face interviews, to slowly unravel the filmmaker’s family trauma. By filming conversations with her mother and father—reluctant interview subjects who live in separate apartments in the same housing estate—Chan attempts to understand their failed marriage and the enduring scars of family violence.

Finally, in Embracing (1992), director Naomi Kawase documents her personal quest to find her father, who abandoned her as a child. This tender film captures ephemeral images, sounds, and shadows from everyday life—a cinematic shorthand for the filmmaker’s hidden emotions.

The Sleeping Flower | Koguchi Utako. The Sleeping Flower, 1991. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

32+4 | Chan Hau Chun. 32+4, 2015. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

Embracing | Naomi Kawase. Embracing, 1992. © Kumie Inc.