Guest in Focus: Seiji Tanaka

When a Coming-of-Age Tale meets Crime and Black Comedy

Seiji Tanaka, director of Melancholic, studied theater and film studies in Japan and the USA. Afterwards, he returned to Japan and began writing plays and screenplays. Melancholic is his first feature film and was awarded for the best director in the Japanese Section at the 31st Tokyo International Film Festival. We are very glad he took the time to answer our  questions for our Guest in Focus series


Where did you get the idea for your film Melancholic?

The idea for Melancholic was born out of my discussions with three different people from the production company, One Goose, which produced the film.There are lots of films about contract killers, but few where the cleaners who tidy up everything are the protagonists. This idea started the story.

What was the biggest challenge while making your film Melancholic?

The director had a different full-time job on weekdays. Therefore, shooting took place from Friday night to Sunday noon, for about ten days. It was physically tough, and yet in the end Yoji Minagawa, who played the main character, also did the job as producer. He could do the producing tasks on weekdays, so in the end it worked out better than expected.

NC19_Visions_Melancholic_05

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

It’s Annie Hall by Woody Allen. This film taught me that films have the power to influence people’s values. I still remember the shock I felt when I heard the last scene: “But we need the eggs.” I was so happy that I had studied English.


新作のアイディアはどこで得たものですか。

「メランコリック」のアイデアは、この映画を企画・製作したOne Gooseの3人で話し合いから生まれたものです。殺し屋の映画はたくさんありますが、その後始末をする掃除屋を主人公にした映画は少ないね、というのが、ストーリーの最初の種となるアイデアでした。

 

今回の映画制作・撮影中での一番大きいなチャレンジは何でしたか?

監督が平日はフルタイムで働いていた事です。そのため、撮影は金曜日の夜から日曜日の昼にかけておこなわれ、計10日間で撮影が終了しました。体力的にはきつかったものの、結果的には主演の皆川がプロデューサーも務めており、彼が平日をプロデューサー業に当てる事ができたため、予想していたほど問題は起こりませんでした。

 

一番好きな映画がありましたら教えてください。また、その理由は何ですか?

Woody Allen監督の「Annie Hall」です。この映画は私に「映画は人の価値観に影響を与える力がある事」を教えてくれました。ラストの「But we need the eggs.」という台詞を聞いた時の衝撃は今でも忘れる事ができません。英語を勉強していて良かったと心から思いました。


Melancholic at the 19th Nippon Connection Film Festival

Japan 2018, 113 min
Saturday, July 1 22:15 Naxoshalle Kino
with director Seiji TANAKA and actor Yoshitomo ISOZAKI

Click here for tickets


Check out the trailer

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