YIDFF 2007 New Asian Currents
Fragments of depopulation
An Interview with Kimura Takuro, Miyoshi Hiroaki (Directors)

Seeing as We Saw It: Showing the Fragments of a Landscape

Q: Please tell me about the process that led you to make this film.

Miyoshi Hiroaki (MH): Kimura and myself both went to the same film school. We graduated and are both working normal jobs right now. One day, we decided we should try to work together to create a piece to submit to the NHK’s Minimini Film Grand Prix. After our submission was broadcast, we started to think that we should continue to make films. When we learned about YIDFF, we decided to try to make a film to submit to the festival before the deadline. We can barely believe that we’re here doing this interview at the YIDFF right now.

Q: Is this your first time making a documentary film?

Kimura Takuro (KT): It’s the first time since we were students. Now, we’re busy with work every day, so it’s very difficult to find time to make a film. With Fragments of depopulation, we just did our best to finish it as well as we could.

Q: Why did you choose to go to that depopulated island?

KT: We saw a documentary on TV last year around this time and decided to go.

Q: Did the people on the island seem suspicious of you?

MH: We stayed there for a week, and we thought it would be rude to start filming the people on the island right off the bat. So, we spent the first three days or so going around the island to introduce ourselves and meet people. Starting on the third day we walked around with a video camera in hand. From that day on, a fisherman gave us a ride in his boat, and we had the chance to listen to an older woman on the island who was a traditional storyteller.

Q: Did you have any particular theme in mind before going to the island?

MH: We didn’t really have any set theme in mind beforehand. Instead, we wanted to go to the island and use whatever we felt during our time there to make a film.

Q: Although you didn’t start with a theme, do you think the film gained particular meanings or that you developed intentions for what it should be about during the editing process?

MH: Honestly, if raising a particular issue about the island were our goal, one week would not have been enough time. It would have been rude and presumptuous, because we couldn’t claim to know anything at all about the island after just a week. However, our goal was for audiences to see the island as we saw it. We edited the film together to show the fragments of the island just as we saw them.

Q: Even without a particular message, I think the film is very unique. I think this is due to elements like the minimal use of dialogue, the music, and the tone created by the blue color scheme, which was similar to a black and white film.

MH: These are all things that naturally came out of what the two of us felt and experienced on the island. We decided to eliminate the old color palette and replace it with shades of blue.

KT: I composed the music so that it would complement with the visuals.

Q: I thought it produced a certain sense of desolation, or maybe sadness. While there may not be a theme, something in it resonates with you long after you view it. It reminded me of how I felt reading Tsuge Yoshiharu’s travel diaries.

KT: I’m not sure if we were influenced by him or not, but I like Tsuge Yoshiharu too.

MH: Since we didn’t really know anything about the island, rather than trying to force a theme onto the film we wanted it express the same feeling of not understanding that we did. We hope the audience can feel that.

Q: Are there any plans for the two of you to continue making films in the future, documentaries or otherwise?

MH: We’re very interested in German silhouette animation from the 1920s. We’re currently thinking about trying to make a film in that style.

(Compiled by Wagatsuma Chizuko)

Interviewers: Wagatsuma Chizuko, Mineo Kazunori / Translator: Christopher Gregory
Photography: Yamamoto Shoko / Video: Mineo Kazunori / 2007-10-09