An award-winning documentary film following the first law firm in Japan set up by an openly gay couple is finally coming to the UK.
Of Love & Law, which was named Best Film at last year's Tokyo International Film Festival, is set for release in cinemas and on-demand on 1 March - and we can exclusively share the first UK trailer.
Directed by London-based filmmaker Hikaru Toda, the film follows gay lawyer couple Fumi and Kazu as they represent a colourful group of clients who have found themselves at odds with a deeply confirmist society.
Together for 15 years, the pair fight for individual freedom in a country where the traditional family unit is considered the ultimate social status, and unity is often championed at the expense of individual rights and freedom.
As they run their pioneering firm in Osaka, Kazu and Fumi dream of becoming parents, but in a country where same-sex marriage remains illegal and official recognition of same-sex couples is only offered in certain cities, adoption is not an option.
But one day, the couple find themselves taking in a boy who has suddenly been made homeless, and suddenly their world starts to change.
Offering a fascinating insight into the conservative outlook that underpins much of Japanese society and the indiciduals who challenge it, Of Love & Law has drawn acclaim for its uplifting message of hope in the face of adversity.
Toda, who grew up in Holland, says that shooting the documentary opened her eyes to the pressures that 'outsiders' continue to face in modern-day Japan.
"Japan is a conformist society with strict social codes governed by traditional and conservative values," she says. "You are taught from a young age not to question authority and to blend in more than to stand out. To respect the others but never to respect yourself."
"Individuals are valued only when they belong to a collective – a family, a community and society. To be an individual is not a right but a privilege in Japan."
Of Love and Law is set for release in the UK in cinemas and on demand 1 March. Check out the trailer and dates for special preview screenings below:
21 February – Preview + Q&A – Curzon Soho, London
22 February – Preview + Q&A – Home, Manchester
24 February – Preview + Q&A – Dochouse, London
25 February – Preview + Q&A – Showroom, Sheffield
26 February – Preview + Q&A – BFI, London
27 February – Preview + Q&A – Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast
28 February – Preview + Q&A – Genesis Cinema, London
1 March – Q&A – The Rio, London
3 March – Q&A – Deptford Cinema, London