YIDFF 2005 all about me? Japanese and Swiss Personal Documentaries
An Interview with Sonobe Mamiko (Director)

I Want to Tear Down My Walls

Q: I feel that words were used very effectively in your work.

SM: The way I make films first involves “words.” As a college student, if I had any free time, I would be writing on paper. Compiling these writings, I think about what kind of image to add. However, Girlfriend was a bit unique. First, when I held the camera to film her, things began to develop in a direction I had not imagined. I didn’t know how to put it all together into a film, but I had a feeling that it could work. In the film, it isn’t important who “you” and “she” are. The entire thing may be fake or it may be real. I think it’s interesting that different people have different impressions. If someone is fooled by my trick in the film, I’d think “Yes! Gotcha!”

Q: How do you understand “self-documentary”?

SM: I haven’t found that definition yet. I don’t intend to make a self-documentary, but in the end what I make falls into the category of a self-documentary. This is especially true of this film. I was aiming for the New Asian Currents program, but my work was put in the all about me? program.

Through Girlfriend, I’d like you to look at myself as well. I think all my works are like that. I want to show myself, but am unable to—that conflict repeats itself over and over. In college, people said I was a great student, and I struggled to tear down that wall. This film is clearly different from my other works to date. Perhaps I was able to show a little of myself this time.

This year, I went to Canada for four months to study English. Besides studying, I met many people and found it to be a stimulating experience—many “words” were born. I’m looking forward to walking my path now more than ever.

(Compiled by Kashiwazaki Mayumi)

Interviewers: Kashiwazaki Mayumi, Okuyama Kanako
Photography: Matsumoto Miho / Video: Sato Kumiko / 2005-10-04 / in Yamagata