An Interview with Catherine Cadou (Director)
I’m Interested in People’s Everyday Lives
Q: When did you think of making this piece?
CC: About ten years ago. At the time, I wasn’t thinking of filming it myself. But then a big chain supermarket was going to be built in Kiba and I felt like it was urgent to film the neighborhood, and so I decided to shoot it myself. That was in early 2000. At first, I was trying to film Kiba through the four seasons with the red bridge as the anchor point, but then construction on the red bridge started. So I decided to turn it into a story of the reconstruction of the red bridge.
Q: What kind of significance does the red bridge have in this work?
CC: A bridge is a symbol that connects people together. It is also what connects me with this community. And it is also the spirit of the community. There are many bridges to Kiba, but I turned my attention to the red bridge in order to narrow the focus.
Q: As a film director, how do you view the community and residents of Kiba?
CC: They welcomed me more warmly than a real family. There’s an expression that strangers nearby are more reliable than distant relatives, but I think it fits perfectly. Everyone has times when they can’t tolerate being alone, so if you can call out to people around you, they will embrace you warmly. The bigger the city, the more relationships with people around you get weaker, so it is lonely. But really, it might be that everyone in starving to interact with other people.
Q: What were the reactions of people in France who saw this work?
CC: They say that it made them want to visit Japan. As for myself, I’d had the impression that Japanese people were always in a rush and impatient, and I was completely hooked by the slow tempo and gentleness of Kiba. The atmosphere in Paris is always agitated, so I feel relieved when I return to Kiba. People aren’t familiar with this aspect of Japan. I think that the places where people really live are like this. You have your home, and your workplace, and you live and work in the neighborhood. People who live in Kiba thrive as they work in this kind of shitamachi (traditional residential district in Tokyo) environment, even into old age. Recently, more people are leaving the area to work in the city, but I have the feeling that this isn’t the right thing to do. I think it’s more humane and enjoyable to be active in your own community and make your own community thrive. I don’t think it’s a mistake to go to the big city for work, but there’s a tendency to end up working for money and not for your own benefit. People living in Kiba preserve their relationships with others through working. They have pride in their work, and that is where you find their values regarding life.
Q: What is your next work?
CC: I’m thinking about filming a work about a visually impaired person living in Paris. I want to film the neighborhood where he lives with a camera, in place of his viewpoint. I shot this work without preparing any particular script, but I want to have a script and a producer in preparation for the next film. I’m most interested in the way people are and their true selves. I’m interested in people’s everyday lives.
(Compiled by Kagesawa Yoshinori)
Interviewers: Kagesawa Yoshinori, Kashiwazaki Mayumi
Photography: Shishido Kojiro / Video: Otani Shizu / 2005-10-10