YIDFF 2011 International Competition
Kantoku Shikkaku
An Interview with Hirano Katsuyuki (Director)

Starting from Zero

To be honest, Yumika’s death really pissed me off. It was an accident, but she brought it on by not taking care herself. She died of a stupid mistake, hurting and angering everyone. So even now, I obviously can’t say goodbye. I declared defeat by showing her my awkward blubbering face, which she no doubt wanted to see. It felt like, “I’m showing this to you, so go ahead.” In the last sequence it wasn’t “goodbye,” but “just go.”

Yumika was one of my life’s milestones. I shot her for my first porn video and fell in love. But six years passed, and she wouldn’t give me the time of day. Six years, and she was still in this industry. I met her again at some screening, and we ended up seeing each other. On the job, partnering with Yumika meant I could make magnificent porn. Anything became possible. My first theatrical film was also with Yumika, and my last with her was her accident. I rolled my camera up until she died, and now a film with those images is even screening at Yamagata. Working together in film, we brought out our greatest potential. She died, leaving these images in my hands, and if I stand back and look at the large-sale release of the finished film, I wonder if that’s the kind of person she was. If she were still alive ours would be an unfortunate but inescapable relationship, and normally relationships don’t go that far. People like to talk about love and adultery, but what I want to say is that there are other kinds of relationships. I think there were things that didn’t make sense, but so would she. Most people need things to make sense, and long for some kind of valid reason. They like to start with words like “spouse” or “lover.” That’s not how it is. My relationship with Yumika, to put it simply, was the happiest relationship a director and actress, one shooting and one being shot, could have. She was a good friend.

A lot of the material for the first half of the film overlaps with Yumika, but the thoughts that went into editing it are completely different. In Yumika, I thought I’d make a film that would make her cackle as she turned 60 or 70, and I left out the romance. Hence the title Yumika.

But Kantoku Shikkaku is a film for myself. Because it uses the same material as Yumika, its beginning has portions that resemble it, but its theme is totally different. In this film I chose parts that clearly showed Yumika’s character, her appeal and her background. That, and her death tape. Using her death tape was a delicate issue. It would hurt her mother, her brother and myself, and if I took one wrong step I might have been unable to carry on living because of large backlash. A film that scored a 60 or 70 was unacceptable. There was a lot of pressure. At the time the pressure and tape controlled me, and I knew I couldn’t make any strange moves.

I make films because I have to keep on living. Now I’m standing at zero, and have no idea what’s coming next. Another person like Yumika might appear, but I can’t know for sure. For the time being I want to keep on making film. I have the energy to shoot at any time.

(Compiled by Watanabe Miki)

Interviewers: Watanabe Miki, Suto Hanae / Translator: Kyle Hecht
Photography: Oishi Mone / Video: Umeki Soichi / 2011-10-10