YIDFF 2019 New Asian Currents
Invisible Actors
An Interview with Chae Hyeong-sik (Director)

The Act of Acting and the Work of an Actor

Q: This film mixes fiction and documentary. Had you made a film like this before?

CH: This is my first real feature film. I’ve made some films as studies and fiction films. I write the scripts as the ideas come to me so I don’t really think of my fiction ideas separately from my documentary ideas. What’s most important is having the idea. There are documentary elements in fiction films and fiction elements in documentary films. That’s what I came to think while studying film. I was particularly influenced by [the film movement] direct cinema and [Iranian director] Abbas Kiarostami.

Q: How much of the film did you plan before you started filming?

CH: I had been interested in the work of an actor and the act of acting for a while. The four actors who appear are people I knew from before and I wanted to collaborate with them on a project. One day I saw a call for auditions for zombie roles on the internet and I had the idea to make a video to help them prepare for the audition. The film really started when I thought, before we’d shot any film, I’d first have them talk to me about their lives. At first that was all I had in mind. So we tried it out a bit and made the film while talking together. My starting point was just that, so at first I had no idea what sort of film would result. But what appealed to me about the production was that I couldn’t predict what would happen.

Q: There are a lot of scenes of the actors’ daily lives, such as the cleaning scene.

CH: I made this film while talking with the actors. In the first conversation, I had them talk to me about the habits which they repeat in their own daily lives. After that, I had them, as actors who live alone, perform scenes of cleaning the house. Actors are both people who perform and people who live their own lives. Putting their everyday lives into the film was a way of capturing how they are acting in a single performance in their daily lives in order to survive.

Q: So you had them perform the cleaning scene?

CH: I think it’s hard to speak separately about what was performance and what was a part of their daily lives. Ahead of time, I told the actors, “You don’t need to make the house clean,” and I put in parts like changing the camera’s position and saying “Let’s do that again from the top” like it was being directed.

Q: Are there many films like this, which move between fiction and documentary, in Korea?

CH: I think films which weave together fiction and documentary are increasing at events like the Independent Documentary Film Festival in Korea.

(Compiled by Inotani Yoshika)

Interviewers: Inotani Yoshika, Nagayama Momo / Interpreter: Bae Seungju / Translator: Caitlin Casiello
Photography: Kusunose Kaori / Video: Morisaki Hana / 2019-10-11