You Need to Educate the Individuals concerning the Significance of Tradition14 min read

On the event of the Europe Premiere of his debut movie “” at Japannual Movie Pageant, we sat down with director and producer (“Beneath the Turquoise Sky”, 2021) to speak about purses, massive company cinema, and feminine empowerment.

Let’s begin firstly. Are you able to clarify the intro opening titles? On the display screen, there’s written: „This isn’t a movie“. What does it imply?

My background is in graphic design. At my firm „Lemon Life“ we internalized the motto „This isn’t design“. We use this as a mindset to transcend the prevailing patterns and create one thing new. Like a type of neverending seek for perfection, to remain hungry for the following degree. I took inspiration from a Belgian trend model referred to as „Delvaux“. Already 140 years in the past they wrote „This isn’t a Delvaux Bag“ on their luggage. I shot my movie with this concept in my head, too.

There may be additionally the ice cup with the title „Lemon Life“, which is the corporate that you just based just about precisely 12 years in the past. Because the CEO of this firm, how would you describe your career? Are you a director, designer, or photographer? What was the motivation to begin this venture and the way did the expertise that you just had from „Lemon Life“ helped you with this venture?

Since childhood, I wished to turn into a director. I ended up turning into a designer. Nevertheless, throughout my skilled profession, I spotted that the border between these two is fluent. The variations between graphic designing and directing aren’t so massive. My work as a film director felt extra like an extension of my earlier work as an artwork director. The earlier 12 years at Lemon Life and my expertise in graphic design helped me to have one other view on filmmaking and made me understand how essential fashion is for films.

Additionally, my cameraman, , comes from the style business and nearly all of my crew on set was from Lemon Life. That’s why it didn’t really feel like being in a brand new setting, but it surely was a really acquainted environment.

Earlier than taking pictures the characteristic movie, you additionally did a brief film, „Ice SCREAM Fever“. What was that about?

After we began the venture, me and my cameraman have been fairly not sure how one can begin the entire course of. We determined to shoot a brief film first to get a sense for the workflow.

I noticed many films. My favourite administrators are Stanley Kubrick and Wes Anderson. I wished to do one thing on this course, however very early within the making of my movie, I spotted that this was not potential. As an alternative, I centered on doing my very own factor and never making an attempt to repeat another person. I experimented lots with shaky digital camera, autofocus, and blurry results to recreate the pure visible notion of the human eye. I realized that these strategies can underline the emotional state of my characters.

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Within the movie there’s a massive concentrate on ornament. Do you’ve a favourite piece that’s used within the movie?

Positively the ice cream.

I favored the best way you used the earrings to inform the story between Yu and Miwa. Was this additionally within the authentic brief story?

Kawakami’s brief story is just concerning the ice cream store. The concept for the earrings got here from me.

How did influenced you? How a lot did you modify from the unique story?

I met her 15 years in the past once I did a ebook design for her. Since then, now we have turn into good pals and discuss lots about films and provides one another suggestions. In some unspecified time in the future, it felt pure to method her and suggest my thought about making one in all her brief tales right into a film. She immediately mentioned sure.

Regarding the script, I primarily labored with . However earlier than writing the precise script, I brainstormed lots with . For my movie, she had the concept to alter the solid into an all-female solid. Her brief story was concerning the relationship between a person and a lady and she or he proposed to exchange it with a same-sex love story.


isn’t keen on males. She criticizes the best way ladies are handled in Japan. For instance, within the subway, you’ve warnings for ladies to watch out of male harassment. That is the mistaken communication. The indicators ought to handle the boys, telling them to not prey on ladies.

It exhibits that we’re nonetheless dwelling in a person’s world. In lots of locations, particularly within the office, ladies are measured by male requirements and need to obey these invisible guidelines that society places on them. Due to this fact, Kawakami needs for a world wherein ladies can dwell out their lives with out having to take care of these judgments and have an id on their very own.    

So, that is additionally a movie about feminine empowerment?

Sure. Gender equality in Japan is at all times tied to numbers and by no means actually meant by coronary heart. Corporations are compelled to satisfy a sure quota, not as a result of they honestly help the concept behind it. There’s a lacking consciousness in society. These are issues that I realized within the conversations with Kawakami.

She received this concept of shifting the main focus extra on the feminine perspective from a tune by Yumi Matsutoya, which is a few lady after a break-up, who realizes that she now not is determined by him and feels the liberty of being unbiased. I put an identical sequence on the finish of my movie.

If you developed the script, did you have already got the actresses in thoughts for the characters?

Apart from , I had all of them deliberate for the solid. I had no imaginative and prescient for her function at first and was not sure how one can current her character. I had already labored with previously („Tokyo Design Story“ 2020).

How lengthy did you shoot the film?

Three weeks in whole. Because it was an unbiased manufacturing, we had no extra time. In any other case, we might have run out of cash.

Was it tough to finance the venture?

That was the toughest half. Large industrial productions goal to make a revenue. They’re compelled to have a script that’s simple to know and well-known actors. I wished to succeed in people who find themselves open to my message and attempt to get them on my aspect to finance my concepts.

Was this additionally the rationale to decide on for one of many characters?

was fully unknown once I found her. I’ve chosen her for the function, due to her distinctive look and as a counterpart to the extra reserved characters. Within the meantime, her music profession went by the roof and she or he is filling the most important live performance halls in Japan now. launched the tune „Edison“ throughout our shot and it grew to become a giant hit. The sudden fame additionally elevated the quantity of dialogue that I added to her function.

Did you additionally improvise lots throughout the manufacturing?

My scriptwriter, Masashi Shimizu, is tremendous inventive and versatile. It may occur that he got here up with new concepts the night time earlier than taking pictures the scene and the following day the entire crew went with it. The vibe on set was like this and there wasn’t a strict plan, which made the entire course of very nice.

I’ve examine an occasion that you just organized for this movie. You confirmed the movie inside a public bathtub. How essential is the situation for a screening? These days individuals have a tendency to observe films at residence or on their telephones. How essential are cinemas and are you a cinema goer your self?

The cinema as a spot of neighborhood constructing is essential to me. The most important drawback with watching a film at house is that you just get distracted very simply and sometimes don’t pay full consideration. Within the setting of cinema, you might be compelled to eat the movie with all of your senses.

Once I did my TV collection „Tokyo Design Story“ (2020) I had the setting of watching it at residence in my thoughts. I adjusted the colours and the best way of telling my story to the ambiance of a lounge. I added extra dialogue and explanations and in addition used totally different digital camera types to maintain the eye of the viewer. That’s totally different from a cinema film, which for instance permits me to have one minute of silence.

I believe the darkness of a film theatre is important. I hope that my work can contribute extra to the tradition of cinema.

There are a lot of small native cinemas in Japan. Is it tough for them to outlive? Just lately there was information about TOHO Cinemas who illegally compelled small firms out of the film distribution sector, solely to advertise their very own films.

I blame the large firms and their idea of Cineplex for the smash of film tradition. Income is their solely purpose. The unbiased scene suffers lots underneath these circumstances as a result of nearly all of Japanese wish to have the large blockbuster expertise and aren’t keen to try smaller places and their applications.

I used to be born and raised in Kyoto. Once I was a young person I principally grew up at this cinema referred to as Minami Kaikan, which had 3 totally different films per day. Sadly, after 55 years, the cinema needed to shut down. I used to be fortunate sufficient to have „Ice Cream Fever“ proven there as one of many final screenings.

How will you oppose the large studio system?

At the beginning, you need to educate the individuals concerning the significance of tradition. Individuals see films solely as a type of leisure, however you need to present them the custom that comes with it. On prime of that, there’s a lack of curiosity on this planet outdoors of Japan. Nations like South Korea have the urge to indicate themselves to the world as a result of their movie market additionally is determined by international revenues. In Japan, there’s a totally different scenario. As a result of massive inhabitants, the nationwide gross sales are adequate for the businesses. I name this a system of self-content, which is in the end doomed.

That’s why you’ve to try the schooling system and have to begin with the youth to deliver change.

Kazuyuki Kitaki: There may be already the idea of neighborhood cinemas, which invite faculty courses. This isn’t organized by the large distribution firms however by small companies to indicate their unbiased productions.

: I hope that I can arrange these screenings in Shibuya, too. I’m in touch with the mayor of Shibuya to push the agenda and that youngsters go to the cinema and the museum not less than as soon as a month to study extra about tradition. I need it to be like some other type of topic in school.

„Drive My Automotive “ gained the Oscar final yr. Did you’re feeling any change as a director, or as a producer? Is there extra consideration on Japanese movies now?

Tetsuya Chihara: I don’t assume the win led to any main modifications. In fact, there have been extra individuals drawn to see the movie due to the information headlines. But it surely didn’t change the day by day client conduct of the common Japanese, who is raring for easy leisure. Regardless of the constructive side that an unbiased manufacturing like „Drive My Automotive“may win over the Oscar jury, the mainstream viewers and the business have been primarily untouched by this occasion.

Kazuyuki Kitaki: The success of „Drive My Automotive“ had a giant affect on me. I do know the manufacturing firm behind this film, Bitter’s Finish, and I used to be so completely happy for them to outwit the opposite massive firms.

I used to be in Taiwan not too long ago and I received so many compliments for Japanese films. Many individuals informed me that they really feel just like the Japanese movie business may be very unique and never keen to share their cultural property with different nations. This originates from the truth that many actors are sure to the strict coverage of their companies. It frustrates me, that we construct up our personal boundaries as a substitute of sharing.

Additionally, the domination of Netflix and the obsession with the US that many Asians have are hindering sure constructive efforts to advertise Japanese movies. On the similar time, massive Japanese streaming platforms like “TVer” are blocking out international customers, though the opening of those providers can be an enormous alternative for a world viewers. It saddens me as a result of I believe if they’d the braveness to open up, the view counts on the Asian market can be even larger than Netflix.  

What are your subsequent tasks?

Tetsuya Chihara: I’m engaged on a script already. I’ve discovered my fashion in „Ice Cream Fever“. The constructive suggestions I received to date, assures me to comply with up on that path. I wish to do two or three different movies in that means. I additionally wish to shoot them in Shibuya and I hope I’ll get the monetary help of the district since there aren’t so many movies that show Shibuya like I do.

Additionally, primarily based on the writings of Kawakami?

I met her not too long ago and informed her about my script. So there could also be some type of collaboration.   

Kazuyuki Kitaki: I’m fortunate sufficient to have survived on this powerful business with my unbiased manufacturing firm, Magnetize Inc., for greater than 10 years now. In spite of everything these years, I used to be lastly in a position to make a income „breath…“ with the cinema ticket gross sales solely. I’ll proceed to work with this director on one other venture concerning the prosecution of the Christians in Nagasaki. Proper now we’re doing location scouting.

One final query. What’s your favourite ice cream taste?

Tetsuya Chihara: Choco Mint.

Kazuyuki Kitaki: Loopy Marble.

Tetsuya Chihara: We particularly cooperated with a restaurant chain referred to as “Sarutahiko Espresso” to supply unique ice cream flavors for our film. After we launched our film, they began promoting these new flavors in all of their amenities. The ice cream store within the film can be a transformed store of this chain primarily based in Ebisu.

Thanks very a lot!

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