Guest in Focus: Shingo MATSUMURA – Love and Goodbye and Hawaii

In our ongoing Guest in Focus series, we ask a few questions of several of our visiting filmmakers about their careers, influences, films, and what they think about coming to Germany. Today’s guest is Shingo MATSUMURA, director of Love and Goodbye and Hawaii.

Born in Kawagoe in 1981, Shingo MATSUMURA graduated from Waseda University in 2013 with his film Striking Out in Love. The film was screened at the Busan International Film Festival and awarded the Skip City Award at the SKIP CITY INTERNATIONAL D-Cinema FESTIVAL in Japan. Love and Goodbye and Hawaii is his second feature film.

(インタビューの日本語版は以下をご覧ください。)

When and how did you first get into filmmaking?

When I was 19 years old, my life was stuck, since I didn’t enter the university and quit my job in my company after a while. I read the special edition “How to make films” in a culture magazine which I got coincidentally. It was about a film school’s filmmaking course using 16 mm film. That was the point when I was somehow very frustrated and wrongly thought: “Maybe I can do that, too!”

What were your first film projects?

I was 20 years old when I went to film school regularly. I shot an 8 mm film that was 10 minutes long. It was about a highschool girl which was about to live separated from her father after her parents got divorced. The way to the station at the day when he left. A modest story between a father and his daughter.

Where did you get the idea for Love And Goodbye And Hawaii, and what story would you like it to tell?

I lived together with my current wife as an unmarried couple for four years before we got married. At that time I didn’t have any money since I went to school, so I had the idea that if we would separate due to an argument, it would be an uncertain situation since I wouldn’t know where to go. You can “start” something even without a reason. But you always need a reason to “end” something. And facing that reason courageously and making a decision will change yourself. Maybe I wanted to see that people can also develop when they end something.

Were there any funny or difficult situations you experienced during the shooting?

In my films the characters are of utmost importance. So my approach is to rehearse with the actors before the shooting (like drama acting) in order that they can understand the characters better. But since we didn’t have time to rehearse this time, we had to shoot immediately with actors which I nearly just met for the first time. Therefore there was a huge gap between the characters I intended to show and the performance of the actors, so we decided to change the plot in order to suit the actors’ personality and shot the film. It was hard but we had a good time.

What do you think about the current situation of Japanese cinema?

I have the impression that Japanese cinema is two or three steps behind other Asian cinema which has a great momentum at present. I don’t want to excuse this with the lack of a system which brings up writers, but the will to maintain the level of the industry and culture by investing time and money in talented people is too weak.

We also completely neglect educating the audience. While the entertainment industry is growing, the chances to get in touch with cinema are decreasing rapidly compared to all forms of entertainment, and the audience’s cinematic expertise is certainly getting worse. That the number of films trying to meet this audience’s needs is growing can be seen as a cause for Japanese cinema being so unsatisfying.

I think it will be very important to incorporate film in education in future.

Which three Japanese films from the last decade do you think everybody should see?

All Around Us (Gururi no koto; director: Ryôsuke HASHIGUCHI)
FAKE (director: Tatsuya MORI)
Fine, Totally Fine (全然大丈夫; Zenzen daijôbu; director: Yosuke FUJITA)

Do you have an all-time favorite film, and if yes, is there a particular reason why it’s your favorite?

Yi Yi – A One And A Two
Director: Edward Yang
Reason: Although the film shows only the events in one family, I have the impression it makes me feel all kind of emotions that you can have in life.

I can’t explain why at all, but I think that’s proof of this film’s abundance. After watching this film I had the feeling of being 20 years older and 20 years younger – a miraculous film.

Who is the director/filmmaker that influenced you the most?

Among the Japanese directors: Ryôsuke HASHIGUCHI
Among the foreign directors: Alexander Payne

Have you ever been to Germany before, and if so, what was your favorite/strangest/funniest experience?

I am in Germany for the first time.

But 10 years ago, I coincidentally met a young German guy in Japan and helped him since he wanted to shoot a documentary. Together with his German friend we three stayed in my small flat for one month to complete the shooting.

Translated from Japanese.  

Love and Goodbye and Hawaii premieres tonight at 19:30 in Naxoshalle. The director will be present at the screening. The film is eligible for the Nippon Visions Jury Award and the Nippons Visions Audience Award.  


インタビューの日本語版

映画作りを始めたのはいつ頃ですか。どのようなきっかけでしたか 。

大学に進学せず、務めた会社もすぐに辞めてしまい、人生のどん詰まりにいた19才の時。
たまたま手に取ったカルチャー雑誌が「映画の作り方」という特集で、映画学校の16mm フィルムを使った撮影実習の様子が載っていた。
何だか無性に悔しくなり、「これなら自分もできるかも」と勘違いしたのがきっかけ。

最初の映画プロジェクトはどのようなものでしたか。

映画学校に通いはじめた20才の時。8mm フィルムで10分の短編を作った。両親が離婚し、父親と離れて暮らすことになった女子高生。家を出る日の駅までの道のり。父親と娘に起きたささやかな物語。

『恋とさよならとハワイ』のアイディアはどこで得たものですか。また、その映 画の中で、監督が表現しようとしているのは、どのようなストーリ ーですか?

妻と結婚する前、まだ只の恋人だった妻と4年程同棲していた。その時期、僕は大学院に通っていたのでお金もなく、今、喧嘩でもして別れることになったら、行くあてがないなと不安になったことがアイデアのはじまり。
何かを“はじめる”のは、理由がなくてもできる。だが、何かを“終わらせる”には、理由が必要となる。そして、その理由としっかり向き合い、決断することによって、自分を変化させられる。
たぶん僕は、人は何かを終わらせる事でも、成長できる事を見てみたかったのだと思う。

撮影中で経験された面白かった出来事や、難しかった出来事は?

僕の映画はキャラクターが最も大事。俳優がキャラクターをより理解するために、撮影開始前に(演劇のように)リハーサルを重ねるのが僕のやり方。
だが、今回はリハーサルの時間がとれなかったので、ほぼ初めて会った俳優とすぐに撮影に入らなくてはいけなかった。
だから、僕がイメージしていたキャラクターと俳優の演技に大きな差があった場合、俳優の個性にあわせて脚本を書き換えながら撮影をすることにした。それが大変だったし、楽しかった。

日本映画の現状についてどう思われますか。

現在、勢いに乗っているアジア映画の中では2歩も3歩も出遅れている印象。作家が育つ制度が整備されていないことを言い訳にしたくないが、才能に時間とお金をかけて産業•文化の水準を維持するという考え方が希薄すぎる。
あと、観客を育てることを完全に怠っている。娯楽が増え、映画に触れる機会が昔に比べて圧倒的に減ったせいで、観客の映画リテラシーは確実に低下している。そんな観客のニーズに答えようとした映画が増えていることも、日本の映画がパッとしない一因と言える。
教育の中に映画を組み込むことできるかが、今後、とても重要になってくると思う。

ここ10年の日本映画のなかで、必ずみてほしい三本は?

『ぐるりのこと」(監督橋口亮輔)
『FAKE』 (監督森達也)
『全然大丈夫』(監督藤田容介)

一番好きな映画がありましたら教えてください。また、その理由は なんですか。

『ヤンヤン夏の思い出』英題(a one&a two)
監督エドワード・ヤン
理由…ただ、一つの家族の営みを見つめているだけなのに、人生のうちで経験するあらゆる感情が胸の中に押し寄せてくる、気がする。
それがなぜなのか全く説明できないところが、この映画がもつ豊かさの証明だと思う。
観終わった後、20歳年を取った気もするし、20歳若くなった気もする、不思議な映画

これまで一番影響を受けられた監督・映画人は誰ですか。

日本…橋口亮輔
海外…アレクサンダー・ペイン

ドイツに来られたことはありますか?もしありましたら、一番好き な・変な・面白い経験はなんでしたか。

ドイツは初めて。
ですが、10年位前の事、日本でたまたま知り合ったドイツ人青年が、日本でドキュメンタリー映画をつくりたいと言うので、手伝う事になった。僕の狭いアパートに、ドイツ人の青年とその友達のドイツ人と僕の3人で、1ヶ月間一緒に暮らしながら撮影をした。

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