An Interview with Kees Hin (Director)
Breathing Life into Unrealized Films
Q: Why did you decide to make this film?
KH: The producer Rolf Orthel found this book in a Paris bookstore. Then he spoke with five different directors about turning it into a movie. When I saw the book, the first thing I thought was that it was such an adorable book. I gazed at it, stared at it like it was a beautiful woman, cradled it like a baby. Just take a look at it. Each of the 100 scripts has a unique structure. Here are scripts for 100 films, all of them still unrealized. And so it was like “Ok! We’ve got to do something.” I do a lot of work with the screenwriter K. Schippers, and so we started working on the project together. He is a good screenwriter, and has a great sense of humor.
Q: What were rewards and challenges of turning unrealized, unborn scripts into a film?
KH: For example, a painter begins work by saying that this goes in the middle, and this belongs here, working with a lot of different materials. Schippers and I also started with a blank canvas. At that point, we thought about how Buñuel had made such-and-such film. That film is complete. So we were making films out of poor scripts that no one had completed. Before the filming, we decided the details about how we would do the filming. We had picked the scripts by filmmakers we liked, so we had an awareness of how they would have shot the films. Writing and thinking are difficult, but filming is even more so. I mean, you have to move together as a group, with a lot of people for a limited period of time. The cameraman and actors each have their own things to say, and you have to respond. Unexpected things happen all the time, and you do everything and anything necessary to breathe life into the script—adding an improved idea, changing things, not changing things, playing around, not playing around. The thing that gave me strength during the production of the film was the existence of the people who wrote the scripts. I wanted to shoot it exact as they would have. I even felt like I was being watched by Yves Klein, one of the screenwriters.
Q: The female narrator and paper cutouts give the film a sense of unity.
KH: Usually the person who does the narration and commentary doesn’t appear on screen. We had the narrator herself begin the film, since this is a film about films and we thought it was important to take a playful approach. She asks, “So, what should I say? What should I do?” The paper cutout also serves as an important actor. As you’ll see if you watch the film, it is an idea that is born from the last episode, so the paper itself escapes from the book and at the end returns to its original position. It acts as a main melody that runs through the whole film. This kind of playfulness is kind of like music. Even if you listen to music, there isn’t anything tangible that you can actually see. You’ll understand if you see the film, but similarly, if you go home and someone asks “so, what did you see?”, all you can say is “it was interesting.”
(Compiled by Hikino Nagisa)
Interviewers: Hikino Nagisa, Nakajima Ai / Interpreter: Saito Shinko
Photography: Sato Akari / Video: Sato Akari / 2005-10-10