An Interview with Ghazi Alqudcy (Director)
Thinking About Love, and the Kind of Love I Felt in Yamagata
Q: Why did you decide, at this moment, to make a film about something that happened four years ago?
GA: It’s because of distance. Singapore and Seoul are far from Berlin, so when I was there the events of four years ago were driven into the recesses of my mind. But when I went home to Sarajevo—that’s only a two-hour flight from Berlin. That closeness brought what happened four years ago back to me.
In addition to this, I am the type who takes a very long time to really process things that have happened to me. Suddenly four years had passed, I was meeting with a friend and talking about the past, and I felt a profound regret. I couldn’t erase that regret, and so I decided to go to Berlin.
Q: Why, in Berlin, did you film couples in same-sex marriages?
GA: It was because before directly facing the problems that I was having I wanted to somehow soften the blow. Beyond that, I wanted a way to start thinking about these problems. I met with my friends in Berlin and thought about how I should face my problems, how I should face them going forward. Before searching for my own truth I wanted to take in the things that were happening around me, the happiness that my friends are feeling, before little by little tracing a path to the heart of my own problems.
I took into account that I am involved in the production of this film. If I arrived at the heart of my problem all at once it would become too emotional. I both appear in and produce the film, so I had to protect myself from emotion. For this sort of reason I started out filming couples in Berlin.
Q: What does the title of your film mean?
GA: When I thought about the theme of the film, “love,” that image of the cow came into my mind. It’s like something that’s bewitched, that gets pulled along to someplace or other. Also I often refer to myself, in a joking sort of way, as a “fat Asian boy,” so I linked these up and the title was born.
Q: In the final scene you say, “When I returned to Sarajevo the first thing I did was call my mother.” Did you really call her?
GA: I called my mother because I wanted psychological support from my family, but also because I wanted to take a step back from my feelings about the film. I had fun shooting it, but when editing I had to face myself, and the emotional burden turned out to be beyond what I had expected. I became somewhat depressed, and I had trouble making it to school.
But I thought to myself that the editing must be finished at some point, and I have to go on to the next thing, so I called my mother and refreshed myself, psychologically. The conversation I had with my mother was rambling, all over the place, but just hearing her voice made me feel well again, and I think I was able to draw a line under it all.
Q: What are your impressions about the first screening of your film in Japan, in Yamagata?
GA: I was delighted. In other countries and regions, young people have lots of opportunities to see my film, but in Yamagata the film has been viewed by many kinds of people, across generations.
Plus, the atmosphere at the Q&A sessions after the screenings has been so open, and I’ve received many questions from older people. That they watch the film and ask me questions, that they are responding to my work in this way, it makes me feel love, Love is indeed the theme of this film, so in these Q&A sessions it warms my heart to feel the viewers’ humanity, their compassion—in other words, their love—so strongly.
(Compiled by Kano Megumi)
Interviewers: Kano Megumi, Takahashi Asuka / Interpreter: Watanabe Ayaka / Translator: Tyler Walker
Photography: Suzuki Moyu / Video: Fujita Ai / 2015-10-10