An Interview with Mukan no TO (Director)
Building a Diverse, Open-minded Society
Q: This film features a lot of diverse personalities. The title suggests a jumble or a mixture (“gocha maze,” “maze koze”). What theme runs through this film?
MT: There was one thing I wanted to convey: Let’s accept the life philosophies and actions of other people, and build a diverse and open-minded society. For this, I intended to use “sex” as the keyword, sex here being broadly defined. Anyone can say out loud that discrimination based on race or ability are bad; it’s easy to approach those topics on TV etc. But what about people who deal with sexual expression? In this film, an adult video actress, who is a highly-educated former government employee, seriously grapples with making a film and interrogates what the AV industry should be from now on. I think many people have a negative image of AV, but most of the people who hold that prejudice know nothing about the lives of these women. I’d be happy if, after seeing this movie, those people could develop many opinions, agree or disagree.
Q: In the film, the chair of Fetifes Sato★Sade says that men in power used to force women to “look sexy,” but now women themselves have come to express “sexiness” of their own volition.
MT: Probably it’s that everyone has begun to express themselves openly and straightforwardly, outside of the limits of woman or man. But we’re still in the transition period. If you step outside the stage of Fetifes, the world is full of discrimination and bias against sexual expression. I’m excited to see what changes will happen or what won’t happen with this film opening at Yamagata.
Q: I’ve heard that the late director Ogawa Shinsuke, the spiritual pillar of YIDFF, was a big influence on why you began to make documentaries.
MT: I remember exchanging opinions about things like the state of Chinese documentary with Director Ogawa. From Ogawa Productions’s Sanrizuka Series, I learned that a documentary is made by building an equal relationship with the subject. After moving to Kaminoyama in Yamagata, his relationship with the subject deepened considerably. I began making films because of the Great East Japan Earthquake, so I film remembering that. My debut work as “Mukan no TO” was Human D59, a re-edited version of Human which drew a full house at Yamagata in 2013 despite being an unofficial screening. This film was made to confront directly the life of Shizuki Iroha, a bondage model active in Japan and abroad. We got a big response from women in the audience. One elderly guest said, “My life laid the groundwork for this, a way of life like Iroha-san’s would be nice.”
Q: Gocha Maze Koze took two years and four months to make, starting production in 2017.
MT: Other than Fetifes, I spoke to over 30 performers from a variety of events like Baku Mangekyō ★ Muse ★. There were former AV actresses who were involved in the opening of an STD testing clinic. They spoke to me frankly about the details of opening the clinic and their lives from then on. Bozu (with a shaved head like a Buddhist priest) stripper Shimizu Kurumi, who will be speaking in the talk after the screening, and transgender girl Kisaki Saki also gave valuable insights which speak to the heart of the film. Now, not just in Japan but throughout the world, I feel as though there are more and more intolerant people who reject the differences of others. So particularly right now, I want many people to see this film.
(Compiled by Masuya Shoko)
Interviewer: Masuya Shoko / Translator: Caitlin Casiello / 2019-08-31 in Yamagata