YIDFF 2005 International Competition
An Interview with Michal Leszczylowski (Director)

Films that Depict the Truth Just as It Is Have the Power to Last

Q: Why did they start supporting the neo-Nazis?

ML: I’d like to know the answer to that question too. But, they are not normal youths. In some respect they are different from normal people. Comparing them with chords on a piano, the chords of their emotions are simple, with just one or two notes. They only have simple responses, like hate or a sense of alienation. Usually people cope with more complex feelings mixed in. In their case, they plunge ahead with just one thing like hate. I get the feeling that the crimes they committed—possessing explosives, blackmail, attempted murder—really aren’t the deeds of normal people. But it’s complicated, because after spending time with them I also got the feeling that in some respects, these youths aren’t so different from me. A stage director once wrote that “we aren’t so different, but the way we express ourselves is different.” The biggest difference is that they are neo-Nazis. Cleanliness and order are most important to them. Cleanliness means ethnic cleansing. They try to eliminate foreigners, beggars, sick people and weak people. Most people think that neo-Nazis come from Nazism in Germany during World War II, but part of the movement originates in the United States. I think maybe neo-Nazis are more about psychological things, rather than philosophy. Psychological things like hatred and fear get expressed as “neo-Nazi,” rather than being a neo-Nazi because you believe something. At any rate, the issue isn’t clear cut, and is very complex. I myself am approaching it from a certain angle, and don’t understand it entirely.

Q: I thought the issue was depicted in a very complex way.

ML: I think the film is very simple. I used the simplest form to express the issues. This film presents a very complex reality. It is extremely complex psychologically, philosophically, socially, and also as a film. Thus, I tried to make it as simple as possible, so that I could comprehend it myself. There are some films that are so intellectual that no one can understand them, but this work is completely different.

Q: So, what is the significance of this film?

ML: I think the significance of this film lies in how to create art, and what art should do. Art is observation and then depiction. In this film, I tried to depict reality in a simple way. Artistic works that depict reality just as it is are the works that will last. I think they have the power to last into the future. If you end up interpreting the facts, that interpretation will end up being old tomorrow, because a new interpretation will probably have appeared. People mature and grow, and so it is natural that new interpretations emerge. I just depicted the facts, since the film would become stale if I included an interpretation. I think that is the potential of art.

(Compiled by Nakajima Asami)

Interviewers: Nakajima Asami, Sato Kumiko / Interpreter: Kawaguchi Takao
Photography: Abe Satsuki / Video: Oki Chieko / 2005-10-12