Directed by Hikaru Toda • Documentary • 2017 • 94 minutes
Openly gay life partners Fumi and Kazu run a small law firm in downtown Osaka, Japan, where Mary (Kazu's mother) works part time running errands for the two. Together for 15 years, it hasn't always been easy gaining acceptance, in a country where their partnership has no legal recognition and stigma is rife.
Through their life and work, we see a snapshot of Japan in transition — a country where collective unity is absolute and often maintained at the expense of individual rights and freedom. Not being part of the majority could lead to prosecution by law and alienation by society at large — as is illustrated by the cases that the two lawyers take on.
Of Love & Law follows the two lawyers as they enter into the lives of their clients, each revealing the challenges of being an individual who is made invisible or silenced by a deeply conformist society for simply being different. Filmed with restrained, fly-on-the-wall intimacy, Of Love & Law—a prize winner at both the Tokyo and Hong Kong Film Festivals—continues gifted documentarian Hikaru Toda's (Love Hotel) observations of a side of Japan seldom discussed or even acknowledged by many of its own citizens. In weaving together Fumi and Kazu's personal stories with their work on high-stakes legal cases, Toda gives us a fully dimensional and poignantly human portrait of grassroots activism.