YIDFF 2009 New Docs Japan
Memory of spider and moth
An Interview with Omori Hiroki (Director)

Daily Life Caught on Camera

Q: The film seems to employ a lot of text such as “Beginning of Autumn” and “Christmas Eve” to define the season, or the expressions of your friend Matsuda-san and lover Shiso. Why is this?

OH: Well, those words were inserted to create a sense of rhythm more than to impart any specific meaning. It’s the same with the mention of seasons. Events in the film don’t follow the seasonal cycle so I wanted to subtly express that. I inserted the words to create a rhythm to articulate the fact that time isn’t flowing chronologically.

Q: The final scene of the train in the winter landscape leaves a strong impression.

OH: That was actually the first train of the new year. The previous year, Shiso and I watched the New Year’s sunrise from that same station. When I shot there this time, Shiso said she was too busy and couldn’t come. While thinking about how selfish she was I went to the station alone and shot what you see. I ended the film with that winter scene because I wasn’t able to straightforwardly include spring in the course of the story. Additionally, the train departing in the opposite direction seemed to echo the nature of our relationship. Even when we are together we’re not at all engaged in the same activities. We’re doing our own thing and looking in different directions. That was another reason I thought I could use that visual.

Q: Aside from Shiso, your cat Apollo and friend Matsuda-san appear throughout. What was your intention?

OH: I didn’t want to position the movie as a story about Shiso and me. If it had been confined solely to our relationship it would’ve lost its impact, so I had to broaden the view to include connected threads outside of that. And so by having Apollo and Matsuda in the film I thought I could widen its world view. Apollo was originally Shiso’s cat but has been living with me, creating lots of opportunities to shoot him. Even in the film Apollo follows around the female stray I brought back, trying to show it some love, but she doesn’t like him at all and in the end he’s rejected.

Q: The title comments on your relationship and in the film Shiso comes across like the spider.

OH: Spiders trap moths and eat them, and there’s nothing the moths they catch can do about it. You could apply this dynamic to Shiso and me but there’s a perception gap. When you watch the film, there are many aspects of Shiso that make you associate her with a spider, but I don’t necessarily see it that way. Together we’re both spiders and moths. The real truth is unclear.

Q: You spoke about the rhythm. Were their other conscious choices you made in making the film?

OH: For me it always becomes much more about how to shoot rather than what kinds of things and events to shoot. As long as you’re living in a rural area, there probably aren’t going to be any big events happening right in front of you. There aren’t spectacular incidents or circumstances but even within perfectly normal daily life I think I can make a film and start shooting. In this film I made a point of not including any surprising occurrences or novel images. With this work in particular I was very conscious of not including that type of content as it would’ve gone against the film’s mission.

(Compiled by Ichiyanagi Sayuri)

Interviewers: Ichiyanagi Sayuri, Miura Norishige / Translator: Jason Gray
Photography: Kato Takanobu, Miura Norishige / Video: Kato Takanobu, Miura Norishige / 2009-09-16 / in Tokyo