Guest in Focus: Chihiro AMANO

Chihiro AMANO, director of MRS. NOISY, was born in Aichi Prefecture in 1982. After working at an office for five years, she turned to film and directed several short films that were screened at PIA Film Festival and at Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival, among others. Her feature film debut was the manga adaptation NO TOUCHING AT ALL (2014). MRS. NOISY (2019 / NC ’20)  premiered at the 2019 edition of the Japanese Cinema Splash section at Tokyo International Film Festival. We are very glad she took the time to answer our questions for our Guest in Focus series.


Where did you get the idea for your latest film?

I was inspired by the so called “Noisy  Lady Case”  in Nara, Japan about 15 years ago. A housewife who furiously swears at her neighbor while hitting a futon loudly was made fun of and reported on TV and became somewhat of a hot topic. However, later on, people started defending her on the internet, saying that she was actually the victim in the situation or “The neighbors were harassing her first”. This led to widespread criticism of the stations that had initially made fun of her  and some people started celebrating her like a misunderstood or tragic heroine.

A dispute can look completely different depending on the position where one stands. Nevertheless,  outsiders come and make a fuss with their own selfish sense of justice, and make the problem even bigger. I wanted to express this universal irony of quarrels.

NC20_Official Selection_Mrs Noisy_01

What was the biggest challenge while making your latest film?

The biggest challenge for me was creating this movie while also being a parent. In 2014, I was busy handling many projects, including directing two films during my pregnancy. But in 2015, after giving birth, not a single opportunity to make a movie came up. Of course, the lack of one’s own ability is a major cause, but it’s hard to think of that alone. I felt that if I were a man the situation would have been completely different, and I was shocked by the invisible wall that still remains. This is a problem not only in the movie industry but in Japanese society as a whole. I wanted to resist. My longing and persistency finally paid off after I finally completed the film after three and a half years. It was a tough road.

What are some challenges women especially are faced with in the world of Japanese filmmaking?

As I mentioned in the answer above, the Japanese film industry is still male dominated and macho oriented. The number of female directors is increasing little by little, but more than 90% of all directors are men, and there are very few female crew members who are able to balance work and family. I think this is an abnormal situation. There is no single cause but many factors, such as the industry being old-fashioned, laws and systems, and gender issues in society. It is simply not possible to meet at 5 o’clock in the morning at the film set every day and continue until midnight while raising children. However, regardless in which industry, I think it’s the epoch-making ideas of flexible and tough women that make this world an interesting place. I want to continue my efforts to change the situation little by little.

MRS. NOISY
Japan 2019, 106 min
Watch the film HERE
 from June 9 to 14, 2020
at the 20th Nippon Connection Film Festival
Check out the trailer!


新作のアイディアはどこで得たものですか。 

15年ほど前に日本の奈良で起きた「騒音おばさん事件」から着想を得ています。この事件は、布団を叩く大騒音と共に隣人に罵声を浴びせる主婦の姿が、面白おかしくテレビで報じられて話題になりました。しかしその後、ネット上で「実は騒音おばさんは被害者だった」「隣人の方が先におばさんに嫌がらせをしていた」など、おばさんを擁護する噂がまことしやかに広がり、テレビへの批判も相まって、彼女を悲劇のヒロインのようにまつりあげる人々が現れました。

喧嘩は立場によって見え方が全く違う。それにも関わらず、第三者が身勝手な正義感で騒ぎ立てて問題を大きくしていく。喧嘩の普遍的なアイロニーを描こうと思いました。

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? 

「子育てしながら映画を撮る」ことが、最大のチャレンジでした。私は2014年、妊娠中に2本の映画を監督するなど、忙しく動き回っていました。しかし2015年、出産した後に映画を撮るチャンスが全く巡ってこなくなりました。もちろん自分自身の実力不足が大きな原因ではありますが、それだけとは考えにくい。私が男だったら状況は全く違っていたように感じ、今だに根強く残る見えない壁に愕然としました。これは映画業界だけでなく日本社会全体の問題です。どうしてもそれに抗いたく、意地とハングリー精神で粘り、3年半がかりでようやく本作の完成に漕ぎ着けました。大変な道のりでした。

日本の映画界で特に女性が直面しているチャレンジは何でしょうか? 

上の質問で述べた通り、日本映画界は依然として男社会でマッチョ思想。少しずつ女性監督も増えていますが、まだ90%以上は男性監督で、出産や子育てと仕事を両立している女性現場スタッフもごく僅かです。これは異常な状況だと思います。原因は1つではなく、業界の古さ、法律や制度、社会のジェンダー問題など、複合的です。毎日早朝5時に集合して深夜まで続く現場を、子供の世話をしながら続けられるはずがありません。しかし一方で、映画界に関わらずこの先世の中を面白くするのは、しなやかでしたたかな女性たちのエポックメイキングなアイディアだと思います。状況を少しずつ変えていけるよう、努力を続けたいです。

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