YIDFF 2003 The 18th National Cultural Festival “YAMAGATA 2003” Documentary Festival
A Sole Demonstration
An Interview with Ando Hisao

Open Your Heart

Q: In the opening you are saying you couldn’t figure out what was bothering you, but did this prompt you to start shooting?

AH: I was in a complete slump then. This was my graduation piece, but until then I’d been shooting a drama, and for the time being I was shooting the continuation. But within myself, I couldn’t accept doing the same thing I’d done before. It was like I wanted to make something new, tearing down what I’d done until then, and I went off traveling not knowing what I should do. I’d done theater a long time ago, and I majored in theater when I started college too. My passion for theater had half-heartedly moved over to film, so in A Sole Demonstration I also wanted to bring closure to those feelings toward theater.


Q: Through this journey, what did you think about community and contemporary relationships?

AH: Osaka is a great place. I lived in a nagaya (traditional-style apartment) in Osaka after graduating from university. In nagaya, families are right next to each other, all jumbled up, people are right next to each other. I didn’t like Tokyo, with its cold feeling and shallow relationships between people. I think everyone comes to Tokyo liking the freedom, but for me it was tough. So I went to Osaka, looking for warmth.

Q: What about that Reiko, who you met on the street, didn’t come?

AH: I treated that girl like a pawn in the film, not as a human being. Behind the kindness, she saw the dirtiness of me thinking how to make her move like I wanted. I regretted that she probably would have been more genuine with me if we’d faced each other without the camera.

Q: It seemed like you had a strong sense of affinity with Kameno, called “Occhan,” but how do you feel now?

AH: Right now we’re separated, so I feel bad about this inside. Occhan still lives in that apartment with his wife, and we’re in touch from time to time. I heard Occhan has been bedridden since collapsing in June, and I’m worried, but I can’t stay in Osaka all the time. I’ve been told to visit him before the end of the year, since he’s in bad shape, and I’m planning to go.

Q: Returning to Tokyo after the shooting, were there any changes in your feelings or way of thinking?

AH: First of all my language changed naturally. And I became kind of meddlesome. Until then I was stubborn and obstinate. Since I couldn’t ask people for help, I said I’d do the whole piece by myself, and I went on ahead stubbornly. I started making it with the idea I could do it on my own, but after I’d finished, I realized I wasn’t on my own.

Q: Did you feel the importance of human nature?

AH: Yes, I did feel it. The connections that link people together are the support. Right now I’m living on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, and I don’t really socialize much since there aren’t many people. Another thing is people over there drink a lot, and I can’t drink alcohol…It is tough, hardly seeing anyone. So I long for Osaka.

Q: What are your thoughts looking at the piece as you are now?

AH: Even though at that time I’d realized something extremely important, I’m forgetting it again. I’m a fool (laugh). Even though I’d intended to live cherishing relationships and people’s warmth, once again I’m losing it little by little…

Q: Can you give a message for people who are confused, people who are like you when you couldn’t figure out your problems?

AH: I’m not good at being a human being, and I made A Sole Demonstration in order to overcome that. Even so, I’ve forgotten and now I’ve regressed to that kind of state. So this applies to me too, but something like open your heart! Have an open mind!!

(Compiled by Sato Akiko)

Interviewers: Sato Akiko, Hayashishita Sayo
Photography: Saito Kenta / Video: Oki Masaharu, Saito Kenta / 2003-10-10