YIDFF 2015 Perspectives Japan
An Interview with Ikeda Sho (Director)

To Drift Properly

Q: This film combines fiction drama and documentary scenes. Where did the project start?

IS: When the Bakurocho Band decided to do a New York tour in 2012, I was drawn to the idea of accompanying them on their trial and error process. Just hanging around wasn’t going to be much fun, so I started filming without knowing what it would turn out to be. It was after 3.11 (the earthquake disaster in 2011) and in the light of the absurd situation, the act of filmmaking was feeling somehow very phony to me. The Bakurocho Band, meanwhile, was continuing its music in that environment and managing to produce inspiring work. I thought perhaps being with them could rejuvenate something inside me.

Q: Did you prepare a script for the fiction part?

IS: I wrote a very detailed screenplay. Hirabuki Masana is a professional actor, but his counterpart Naka Suzue was a work colleague of mine who had zero experience in acting. Mr Hirabuki managed to pull the scene together.

Q: When the project was presented at Yamagata Roughcut! in 2013, some questioned the necessity of the fiction parts. What were your thoughts?

IS: It’s true that the Bakurocho Band part and the documentary sequences with Habu Hiroshi and his wife alone told a wonderful story. I could have put together a safe film just with that. But I felt something was missing. Mainly, it was my discovering, on tour, a new side to the musicians. Before a gig, the musicians have to prepare, right? The band members tune their instruments. I found that to be so beautiful. They were tuning and correcting their music so carefully in anticipation of the upcoming performance—in tandem, I felt my film couldn’t be just a conventional documentary. Couldn’t I possibly tune myself too, using my own scale and methods? I was moved by their casual act of tuning, possibly because I was in need of some kind of tuning myself. Making a film is not about just creating content to be consumed. Filmmaking can be a way to tune oneself with the world, I thought.

Tuning of course is a way to better the music. But I was interested in including discord—bad tuning—too. By matching good tuning with bad tuning, I was hoping to reach a more holistic act of tuning.

Q: Does the film’s title Voyage refer to a ship traveling at sea?

IS: My impulse was to embody the idea of “drifting.” When 3.11 happened, I was struck by the sense that I was not headed anywhere, but just drifting. All of Japan felt like a piece of driftwood. In the opening scene of Voyage you see a couple in a boat on a lake. It’s neither sea nor river. The lake water has no flow, so you are not exactly sure which way you are going. Just a small movement with the oar will influence the direction. You seem to be static but actually you are moving—you seem to be moving, but actually you are still. I think that’s where we are. I promised myself that this was what I wanted to depict, this place. It helped me recognize the sensation that I am drifting, properly.

(Compiled by Yamane Hiroyuki)

Interviewers: Yamane Hiroyuki, Nozaki Atsuko / Translator: Fujioka Asako
Photography: Nagataki Ayaka / Video: Yamane Hiroyuki / 2015-10-03 in Tokyo