'What keeps their relationship?' : Japanese Filmmaker Shunya Takara on His New Film, Suitable for you
The interviewee of this time is the expected young director in the Indies film, Shunya Takara. His first long film, "Suitable for you", which described two married couples spending 5 days of the vacation, is selected for the Filmination Prize at Japan Cuts Hollywood Film Festival 2019.This is the second time his film is awarded in North America. He focused on describing the “human relationship” about 'what keeps the connection of the two'. We interviewed his intention with the secret story of making "Suitable for you".
■'Script' and 'emotional expression' acclaimed by the judges - The secret story of making the film, "Suitable for you"
−According to the comments from the judges, 'the script is wonderful'. How was the script constructed?
Tomoyuki Takahashi, who wrote the script, was my senior at school. We shot films together in the past for several times. Around the fall of 2016, we decided to make a new film and each of us wrote a plot. Both of us picked up complex trouble of a couple as a theme.
Influenced by special screenings I often watched at that time, I felt like making a film related to the vacation. Something happens at the travel destination in the story. Current script is created after the rewrite of the story.The 'name', which is the most important element in the film, was already in the original plot Mr. Takahashi wrote.
However, the completed film is quite different from the script. Our impression after the shooting is 'Finished film is totally different from the script', haha.
−Did you greatly change the script at the phase of the shooting?
The film is much more dynamic than the script.
For example, a couple discusses upstairs of a cottage at the climax scene. The couple does not get down to the first floor in the script. However, after the location hunting, I changed the setting from staying upstairs to going downstairs to go outside. Although I was not sure if the setting change can be successfully applied at that time without actors, I have decided to make a change discussing with the cameraman, Takumi Watanabe.
Like this example, I tend to add changes. That is the reason much more dynamic images are recorded compared to the script. Adding dynamics to the script is probably my strength.
−There is also an evaluation that 'the struggles and delicate feelings of the leading character are finely expressed'.
I put great importance on shooting the play proceeding and real emotion of actors in front of the camera. One shot was long, so I did not take shots repeatedly to prevent actors from being too tired to express their emotions during the shoot.
−So there is a scheme to shoot their emotions.
That is right. Actually, all the players including staffs stayed at the cottage which is also a shooting location. My intention was to make it easier to shoot, but spending days at the same environment as the film scenes as film characters may result in bringing out the emotion of the actors. Also, it was very convenient that we had a chance to check the scenes we were going to shoot the next day before going to bed.
■'I did not expect to be selected in North America' - The opportunity to be distributed in the North America with the apply to the film festival
−What is your impression when you were awarded at the Japan Cuts Hollywood.
I did not know there is a Filmination Award at the Japan Cuts, so I was surprised when awarded. Looking at the overview of the award, I was attracted by the concept, 'Create an opportunity for young directors to distribute Japanese films globally'.
−In the North America, it was the second time to win a prize, followed by the Boston International Film Festival.
I did not expect the film is selected for two awards at the film festival in the U.S. It has become a good chance to get a foothold for global distribution. I had an impression Asian films tend to be awarded at the film festivals in Asia, so I only hoped the film would be screened at a film festival in Asia.
−Is there anything you realized by applying to, and being selected in the film festival overseas?
I realized that this film is "very Japanese". At the start of the film, there is a scene a wife walks with a heavy carry case and her husband does not help carrying it, walking ahead of her. When the film is screened at the Boston International Festival, the scene was laughed at the venue. It must be nonsense men do not carry the baggage of women. I was not aware how "Japanese" the film is. However, seeing the responses, I realized "Japanese" culture is expressed naturally in the film.
■"What is the key to connect the two?" - The question from the director Takara about the ways of being a married couple
−What did you want to describe through the film, "Suitable for you"?
It is the human relationship of 'what keeps the connection A and B'. In the play, two married couples appear and 'the reason the two (the couple) are together' is described.
One couple in the play has a physical routine that "the wife throw a nut, the husband catches it with his mouth, and he never drops it." As for the other couple, there is a scene the wife says "my name has a better tempo to it by changing the name after the marriage."
The facts of 'throwing a nut and catch it' and 'having a name with a better tempo' do not seem to be related on the surface. However, they have something in common in that 'what keeps the relationship of each couple'.
−So that is your intention! Is there anything you wanted to tell the audiences by describing 'what keeps the relationship of the two'?
I wanted audiences to replace it for themselves rather than telling them something.
I recently think that 'people should not stay alone. Something comes up mostly when one is with another.' Troubles happen when there are more than two people. It is impossible not to have troubles at all. That is the reason the film questions how to overcome the troubles.
This is replaceable for various kinds of relationships not only for a married couple but for a family, friend, or parent and child.
-You have also described the relationship between a parent and child in the past work. "Human relationship" could be the key in your films. Is there any theme common to your film making?
It is true I tend to describe human relationship. I may have had an interest for it all along. When I was a high school student, I saw two people standing in front of a cash desk before me and thought unconsciously, 'Why the two people are standing together? What is their relationship?".
−What will be the theme of your next film?
I want to make a film with the human relationship and the communication. As for the genre, history, historical play, and family are my interests.
−The film will be distributed through the filmination. Do you have any targeted people?
There are no targeted people. We made the film which anyone can enjoy, so various people can watch it. Some say the film finishes with the happy ending, and others say it does not. I hope people think about their own viewpoint watching the film.
Thank you for your time, Mr. Takara!
film『Suitable For You』
Miki Iizuka is dissatisfied with her husband, Yoshinori. One day, she ended up renting a villa with her husband, his coworker Takako Hayashi and Takako's husband Mitsuru for a vacation getaway. However, as soon as they arrive, Yoshinori and Takako have to solve a sudden work problem, and the two couples have to spend the vacation separately. It seemed as if their precious vacation would become dull, but Miki and Mitsu were elated. The fact was that they were in a secret relationship with each other. Meanwhile, at dinner when Miki heard Yoshinori's ideal working philosophy, she noticed the gap between them could never be filled. What would this vacation reveal as the thing binding these two couples? And what will they choose for their life?
Director:Shunya Takara / Script Writer:Tomoyuki Takahashi / Cinematographer:Takumi Watanabe / Music:Kohei ShigemoriProduction Country:Japan