Of Love & Law

Frameline Encore - Free Screening and Q&A

Of Love & Law

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DIRECTOR: Hikaru Toda
2017 | Japan, UK, France | 94m

Within Japan's strictly conformist society, openly gay life partners Fumi and Kazu chart bold new paths-both in their lives and with their Osaka law firm. To be a minority of any kind in Japan is to live with an ingrained sense of alienation and judgment. But Fumi and Kazu seek to change such stigmas by taking on a myriad of cases involving marginalized voices. Whether it's a person protesting the national anthem, a feminist performance artist, or any of their other LGBTQ clients, these two remarkable men use a potent combination of charisma and rigorous legal prowess to strengthen individual rights within a society that prioritizes group harmony.

Fumi and Kazu demand a sense of true belonging and reject repressive expectations to withdraw and fit in. Even though their marriage is not sanctioned by the government, the partners wish to raise a child. By chance, Fumi becomes a legal guardian to his orphaned teen client Kazuma. Anchored by mutual acceptance of one another, Fumi, Kazu, and Kazuma's easy alliance inspires them to want to expand their family even further.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.

In Japanese with English subtitles.


Consultants John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney

Lewis and Gaffney were one of the plaintiff couples in the historic lawsuit that brought marriage equality to California in 2008, and have been two of the leaders of the marriage equality movement for 14 years. They have traveled to Japan to give talks on marriage and LGBTQ+ equality on multiple occasions and have met with numerous Japanese activists. They are also international advisers to the Japanese nonprofit Global Oneness, which promotes LGBTIQ understanding in Japan. Lewis and Gaffney consulted with Of Love and Law director Hikaru Toda during the development of the film.


Center for Asian American Media, Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco


"Hikaru Toda's eye-opening documentary examines Japanese culture through the experiences of a gay couple..."
- SARAH WARD, Screen Daily

"Love Hotel director Hikaru Toda delves into the absurdities of Japanese life that pit the individual against the nation in her first feature doc..."
- ELIZABETH KERR, The Hollywood Reporter