The End of the Special Time We Were Allowed

(Watashitachi ni yurusareta tokubetsu na jikan no owari)

- JAPAN / 2013 / Japanese / Color / Blu-ray / 151 min

Director, Script, Editing, Producer: Ota Shingo
Photography: Kishi Kentaro, Iizuka Ryo
Sound: Ochiai Ryoma
Music: Aoba Ichiko
Co-Producer: Tsuchiya Yutaka
Original Title: Okada Toshiki (Chelfitsch)
Source: Midnight Call Production

“I’ve got a talent for suicide.” The director makes a promise with his musician friend to succeed in making a teen movie. But before they can wrap production, the friend commits suicide. In his will, he wrote that he wanted the director to finish the film. Left behind, the director returns to the images they recorded, reuniting the film’s staff and actors and playing the role of his friend himself to complete a film that combines documentary and fiction. This story complicates the natural and the performed, existence and absence, moving toward its own destruction.

[Director’s Statement] As far as I can remember, I have attempted suicide twice. My first attempt was in Toulon, France, when I took a large amount of medication after having my heart broken. My second was on the veranda of my apartment building, from which I jumped after failing to find employment. Both attempts ended in failure and I am now living as I am. It seems that I lack any talent for suicide whatsoever. So it hit home when my friend snubbed me, departing from this world early by killing himself. I was touched by his way of life (death), self-aware and full of compassion toward those he left behind.

So what talents do I have? It may be that I have no talents at all. But I’ve had enough of that kind of word play. I mean, what you and I felt, isn’t that a massive truth in and of itself? Forget having talent or not having talent. What I want to communicate to you is the unsightly beauty of a human who carries his convictions forward, and to ask why people have to choose their own death. I wanted to find that reason with you, so I made this film. I staked my life to make it, so stake your life to watch it.

- Ota Shingo

Born 1985 in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Ota Shingo's thesis film at Waseda University about the relationship between a “hikikomori” youth and his family, Graduation (2009), was honored with an Award of Excellence and the Audience Award at the Image Forum Festival in 2010. That same year his Kids & Grownups (2010) premiered at the Osaka Asian Film Festival. His films are songs for humanity that emerge from narrow spaces of celebration, featuring conscious displays of the performative abilities that his subjects unconsciously possess, and showcasing the humor of excess. Since 2009 he has been based in Yokohama, where he participates as an actor for Chelfitsch, which puts on performances across the world. His onstage debut was Five Days in March, performed in Hong Kong, and he has since continued to perform both in Japan and abroad. His current work traverses both stage and screen.