Reflections on fertility, on the basis of an installation that pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama made in Japan. Universal themes like fertility, rituals and the loss of life turn out to be personal.

When the Dutch-Japanese pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama develops an art work around her fertility, documentary filmmaker Aliona van der Horst decides to follow her to Japan, where the installation is exhibited. It is a cathedral-like space made up of 12,000 white dresses and a core made of fabric dyed with menstrual blood. Mukaiyama: ‘Nobody ever talks about “the blood between your legs”, but I think it’s beautiful’, she explains her fascination. The visitors wander around as in a ritual, followed by the camera. The normally restrained Japanese speak candidly about ‘moon blood’, fertility and sexuality. A man, in awe of the installation, calls it ‘a requiem of the phenomenon of washing away a life that had it in itself to be born.’ Based on conversations, the core of the film shifts to rituals and the loss of life. Universal themes that also turn out to be very personal, both to the pianist and Van der Horst herself. In the background, we hear Bach’s superb Goldberg Variations, performed by Mukaiyama.


Executive producer
Sound editing
Production company
Zeppers Film & TV
TV company
Distributor NL
Cinema Delicatessen

Title: Water Children
Year: 2011
Duration : 1 hour, 15 minutes
Category: Long Documentary
Edition: NFF 2011

Gouden Kalf nominees

Beste Lange Documentaire (2011)
Aliona van der Horst

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