YIDFF 2011 A Reunion of Taiwan and Japanese Filmmakers: 12 Years Later
Prisoners, The New God
An Interview with Tsuchiya Yutaka (Director)

After 12 Years

Q: Tell us how Prisoners was made.

TY: This film is a making-of documentary of Director Adachi Masao’s Prisoner / Terrorist. Slowlearner, who distributed my previous film PEEP “TV” SHOW, was the distribution company for the Adachi film and asked me to direct the making-of. The first time I met Director Adachi in person was around 2000 when he had just returned from Palestine after 35 years. I asked him to appear in a talk event for PEEP “TV” SHOW, after publishing a message to Mr. Adachi in the film magazine Eiga Geijutsu.

Q: What is Director Adachi’s appeal to you?

TY: In the 1960s to 70s, he was at the front lines of activism through film and artistic expression through film. He personified the idea that cinema can change society. I myself host the Video Act! Project and continue to try to make a difference through the tool of video. So in that sense I have a strong affinity towards him. Moreover, I was extremely curious what Mr. Adachi would say through film in Prisoner / Terrorist, taking today’s current situation in account.

Q: While running the Video Act! Project, how do you feel about the recent developments in the film industry?

TY: Since big films cost a lot and must become hits, they are destined to be predictable. This is nothing new. If you watch a film and the only reaction you get is “that’s fun!” I would say it’s no different from going to the amusement park and taking a fun ride. In order to give birth to films that astonish audiences, filmmakers need to think about how to secure budgets for small films.

Q: Your The New God was premiered at YIDFF ’99 and drew a huge reaction. 12 years later, do you feel something has changed within you?

TY: In The New God, the main protagonist Amemiya Karin took the video camera and used the video diary method to present herself. This approach was extremely exciting for me, as the film left my control and developed by itself. For my next film I wanted to try fiction filmmaking, which became PEEP “TV” SHOW. The structure of fiction filmmaking, where each scene is created under control, was very different from documentary and I was able to discover the attraction of fiction cinema.

Q: I hear your upcoming film will be using fiction methods?

TY: Yes, you’re right. It’s a fiction film with, broadly speaking, the theme of surveillance in society. But having made another fiction work, I now feel like doing documentary again. Documentary is exciting because the unpredictable happens, and that can only happen in documentary. Acknowledging the allures of both fiction and documentary, you could say that I am emotionally inclined towards documentary nowadays.

(Compiled by Chiba Minami)

Interviewers: Chiba Minami, Hiroya Motoko / Translator: Fujioka Asako
Photography: Kubota Chisaki / Video: Fujita Sumio / 2011-10-10