Guest in Focus: Soshi MATSUMOTO

In the 2021 edition of the Nippon Connection Film Festival’s NIPPON VISIONS section, we are presenting Soshi MATSUMOTO’s feature film debut IT’S A SUMMER FILM!

Soshi MATSUMOTO was born in Saitama in 1988 and started his career by directing numerous commercials, music videos, short films, and series for TV and the web. His feature-length debut IT’S A SUMMER FILM! (2020 / NC ’21) had its world premiere at the 2020 Tokyo International Film Festival. Thanks to Soshi MATSUMOTO for this interview.

The main character in IT’S A SUMMER FILM! is a hilarious young girl aspiring to become a director. Why is she called Barefoot (Hadashi)?

I wanted the three main characters to represent summer. I gave her the name Barefoot, because it makes you think of children running barefoot in the park or other places during the summer. The name simply means not wearing shoes on your feet.

(Nippon Connection 2021 – Nippon Visions: It’s A Summer Film! by Soshi MATSUMOTO)

The protagonist Rintaro stumbles into Hadashi’s life and changes it forever. If you had a time machine like Rintaro, which time would you like to travel to and who would you like to meet?

I would visit the time right after my own death (maybe around the year 2090?). There I would watch the popular films, read the popular manga and listen to the music of that time. I would love to experience with my own eyes and ears the pop culture of the near future that I’m unlikely to see for myself.

Hadashi loves jidaigeki (period drama). What is your favorite jidaigeki film?

THE MILLION RYO POT (Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakuman ryo no tsubo) by Sadao Yamanaka. It is a daring period drama with good rhythm and pacing. It has a dry sense of humor. I just love how light-hearted the storytelling feels. It is a masterpiece filled to the brim with things that make its characters loveable.

(Nippon Connection 2021 – Nippon Visions: It’s A Summer Film! by Soshi MATSUMOTO)

In your film, you talk about the future of cinema. Do you think teenagers should watch more films and less short clips like on TikTok? And do you think in the near future long films will completely disappear?

Until some years ago I was excited that the era of short clips would come for sure. But in the last few years I saw that both long and short films have their own merits. I hope that people will continue to be able to equally enjoy both long and short films. In the same way I don’t want cinemas to disappear from our cities and towns. Sitting in a cinema without touching your smartphone for two hours works like a kind of detox. Cinemas are very necessary places in our age. I hope they will be treasured even more from now on.

Japan 2020, 97 min
Watch the film from June 1 to 6, 2021
at the 21st Nippon Connection Film Festival
Check out the trailer here!









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