YIDFF 2011 New Docs Japan
September 11
An Interview with Omiya Koichi (Director)

I Want to Watch over the “Nursing Care Fanatics”

Q: This film is about a one-day talk show. Did you know what you wanted to make it into from the start?

OK: I had no idea what sort of content would come up, and as I imagined what kinds of messages I might hear. I filmed expecting my expectations to always be betrayed. It was a fun shoot. This is a common point with The Sketch of Mujo, but I wanted to gather things that only images can tell, not words or letters. I brought a young crew along for the shoot, and I wanted them to look at those on stage and try to get something from them.

When shooting my previous work Tadaima—I’m Home, a Place for Everyone, I felt a big change in caregiving happen. It didn’t change little by little, but all at once, like a giant tsunami. I felt the 7 people in this film suddenly evolve into a new type caregiver, and hearing them talk confirmed that feeling.

Q: I thought the 7 “nursing care fanatics” were very cool.

OK: The term “nursing care fanatics” was something that interested me as well. Caregiving has a serious and reserved image, but they are so obsessed with it that they call themselves fanatics. They have fun even on the job. They are mavericks creating new meanings for caregiving. I feel that, in a way, caregiving happens where you come in direct contact with people. There is surprisingly little work that involves directly connecting with people. As the family system collapses, I am happy people like them emerge, who build thick, family-like relationships even on the job.

Many systems, and not just caregiving, have a frame that you cannot slip out of. However, when you go ahead and slip out, there are times when those around you appreciate it. If that happens, the system starts to change. I want today’s young people to not only go along with the system, to believe in possibilities and step out like these people, especially in the field of film. I hope to see more young people who could call themselves “film fanatics,” and I want them to do as they like. I think we adults need to make a society that watches over that.

Q: One could say that by making this film you are watching over the nursing care fanatics. But how do you feel about your difference in position, between them as caregivers and you as the director who shoots a film about them?

OK: Hosokawa, who appears in this film, says, “You need distance for caregiving.” It’s a mistake to think that caregiving is better the closer you are. You need to keep a space open where someone else can enter. I understood this in terms of the relationship between projector and screen. By leaving an open space in caregiving, it’s not only my relationship with you, but another person can enter and that relationship can broaden. This resembles when an audience enters the space between a filmmaker and his or her message, a space where various interpretations and thoughts take form.

I think it’s alright if audiences just accept films as information. But as a filmmaker, while there is the element of information, if that’s all there is then your film’s possibilities become particularly restricted. Even if filmmakers have their own message and conclusion, I want to see films that leave spaces for their audiences to think. That’s the type of film I aim for.

(Compiled by Ishii Tatsuya)

Interviewers: Ishii Tatsuya, Uno Yukiko / Translator: Kyle Hecht
Photography: Uno Yukiko / Video: Kato Takanobu / 2011-09-18 in Tokyo