YIDFF 2011 Films about Yamagata
Our Future
An Interview with Iizuka Kasho (Director)

Facing Reality Positively

Q: I was deeply moved by the internal conflict faced by the main character, who has gender identity disorder and has to figure out how to orient himself in communities of school and family in which he feels alienated and alone. What do you think about the environment of understanding toward LGBTQ people in our society?

IK: Granted, the main character Yu has gender identity disorder. However, what I wanted to show most in this film is not society’s attitude toward transgender people, but rather a reality many face for a period of time in which no one accepts them. Their situation doesn’t allow them to move forward, and they have to figure out how to take that first step. I wanted to show that instant. What Yu struggles against is not that different from the common worry we all have over how to come to terms and get along with our differences and position in society. I wanted to depict this as a theme.

Q: I was also touched by Haruka’s line, “Normal is an illusion.”

IK: Just as those words say, the word “normal” stops making sense when you really think about it. Even if someone thinks they’re normal, when looked at by someone else that normalcy can come into doubt. The main character Yu has a side that wants to be thought of as normal and live life as he’s supposed to. But when looked at by those around him, he is still not “normal.” I wanted Haruka to tell him that he had to establish himself and create and search for a way to live.

Q: When Haruka danced in this film, I felt a comparison between her situation and a sense of openness. What did you intend with this scene?

IK: I included it as a symbol of release from bondage, and I asked the actor to imagine release while dancing. If people worrying about various things watch this scene and feel release, then I think film has been for someone. Although I changed the contents of the script again and again during production, I wanted to include this dance scene from the start.

Q: This is your first feature narrative film. Had you planned to make narrative films from before?

IK: I wanted to make narrative films since I was little. In my second year of elementary school I saw Miyazaki Hayao’s Princess Mononoke, and received a mysterious shock that couldn’t be put into words. I thought I also wanted to make works like that, which shock people and quicken their hearts. When I became a college student I finally entered an environment in which I could make films, so I began production.

Q: What does the title Our Future mean?

IK: There are two title cards in this film: one at the beginning and one toward the end, when Yu comes out and wears a girl’s uniform to school again. Their future as boys and girls begins here. I wanted to include the nuance that from hereon out, they’ll live as their true selves.

Q: Having made a film, has anything changed about you?

IK: Having you watch my film is similar to having you watch me. Whether good or bad, this work reflects me. I don’t usually tell many people about myself, and having audiences watch the film as prior information about me makes me feel at ease. I wanted to make this film no matter what. I wanted to first take what I had worried about and couldn’t accept and make it into a film, to express it.

(Compiled by Okuyama Shinichiro)

Interviewers: Okuyama Shinichiro, Oishi Mone / Translator: Kyle Hecht
Photography: Maki Chizu / Video: Yanagisawa Ayumi / 2011-09-18 in Yamagata