Interview with director “Omoi Sasaki” from a Japanese film "Mr.Suzuki-A Man In God's Country" (鈴木さん)

Special Interview with the film director Omoi Sasaki from "Mr.Suzuki-A Man In God's Country"

"Mr.Suzuki-A Man In God's Country" (鈴木さん) is one of the films in Tokyo Premier category at Tokyo International Film Festival this year (2020). By the courtesy of TIFF, we got a chance to have special interview with mr. Omoi Sasaki, the film director from movie "Mr.Suzuki-A Man In God's Country", to share his ideas in the film, how he casting and also his next projects.

InStyle Asia: Nice to meet you, After watched your film, we are so glad to talk with you here. What is your original idea to make this film?
Omoi Sasaki: As I mentioned in Q&A answer, there are “outsiders” come in. They come in and then they go. And so, that’s what behind the kind of story that has existed for many years ago. Not alians but the outsiders who coming in, that is the basis part of the people who reacted to the outsiders.

Omoi Sasaki on the stage (Photo: InStyle Asia)

InStyle Asia: Thank you very much. There are the differences between the outsiders and insiders in the film, for example, everyone who believed in god and living in the nation have the code (numbers) on the arms, so what you want to tell from this part?
Omoi Sasaki: Because the budget reason we could engrave the numbers, but may be in the future there are country governor who want to control their people and they might put IC chips inside people, to be able to know right where they were, to control them and i wanted to show that part as well how people living under the control society.

Photo: InStyle Asia

InStyle Asia: The budget is limited so it might be better to show the code (numbers). This film also telling about a woman who not marry. She was criticized and she have to go to the war for the nation, that means she may die in the war. But the film not mentioned about the old man who not marry. So, do you want to tell about the human equality between women and men in society?
Omoi Sasaki: It’s true that in the society there’s different form in the equality like you mentioned to the woman in the film, they have to go to war, became a soldier but it seems like father who is figured in the film just accepted that. As it’s a rule in the nation they’ve invented.

Photo: InStyle Asia

InStyle Asia: Talk about the differentiation on the way of thinking, like in this film when someone not respected the god, they may be punished by majority, thinking different against the majority is difficult or not?
Omoi Sasaki: You are correct when you say that, existing as a minority in the majority, you just not match in that kind of society, that’s what i wanted to show.

Photo: InStyle Asia

InStyle Asia: so this is a message you want to share from the film?
Omoi Sasaki: I have no any message per se that i want to tell people but people are looking for some reason to get back their people. It could be any kind of setting they are looking for some reason to do, like showing their frustration and it’s just one example i showed. But i don’t agree on that. I think this is something you can see in society as well. I also thinking about this when I making the script, i wanted to depict the story of a woman who couldn’t have a baby but i thought that it just too sad to use this story so i decided not to do so.

InStyle Asia: Mr.Suzuki chose to live with a woman. He came from somewhere nobody knew and decided to live with that woman and also helped her, later he claimed that he is actually the god, in order to save that woman, is he a real god?  Because his face looks similar to the god’s painting from the opening scene.

Photo: InStyle Asia

Omoi Sasaki: I don’t want to say directly that he is god, it’s up to the audience to portrait him.

InStyle Asia: So it depend on how the audience to interpret him by their own.
Omoi Sasaki: Yes, because each viewers have their own interpretation or their favorite kind of the way they want to interpret the story, so it’s up to them.

InStyle Asia: I see, some may believed that he is god but some may not think so. Mr.Suzuki’s character also reminded us a novel from Albert Camus, a french author and philosopher. Have you ever read his novel? “The Stranger” is one of his famous novel. It looks related to your film topic?
Omoi Sasaki: I don’t know who he is.

InStyle Asia: The novel Stranger reflects the people who keeps their needs in the mind, otherwise they will be different from majority. Mr. Suzuki and the woman showing what they want and claimed their right in the nation, they looks like the strangers.
Omoi Sasaki: There is no direct relation to the novel because i don’t know what “The Stranger” telling about. The story is not relate to that novel.
InStyle Asia: Thank you so much. Talk about the reason to cast the main characters (Mr.Suzuki and the woman), do you have idea or opinion about casting this two characters?
Omoi Sasaki: To put it very roughly they are exactly the type of the characters that i’ve imagined and goes to actor and actress, they are exactly the same that i’ve imagined as this film characters, that was a real reason why i asked them to perform in my film.

InStyle Asia: They are so perfect and acting so well and i believed that she acted like she is a woman in that nation, especially mr.Suzuki, he is acting so great.

InStyle Asia: As you are the director, What do you expected the audience after watched this film?
Omoi Sasaki: i was actually thinking and expecting any particularly reaction, in the sense of gentleness, people who are gentle and kind probably be able to reach to the characters. And people who are lonely, they can understand what the loneliness means, to cover those side of the people who may reach to that feeling.

InStyle Asia: How about the next project or movie, now we already watched “ mr.Suzuki”, how about the next one?
Omoi Sasaki:  I had talked this in the other days and still thinking about the movie concern to the construction, to people so something and get control in an island and the border is closed. it’s what i can say right now. So the people will be get control and government on that island

InStyle Asia: is it easy topic or serious story?
Omoi Sasaki: making it will be very serious but i want people feel relax when they watching it.

InStyle Asia: so when we can see this film?
Omoi Sasaki: (laughing) I don’t know, it not that stage yet.

InStyle Asia: Do you have any plan to make a new plot or new film in abroad such as Southeast Asia, or do you have any future project outside Japan?
Omoi Sasaki: I really want to do that so much, do something abroad. Talking about “myst” in your country, i pretty know about the myth in Japan, it’s very complicated when you think about it. It’s not just one culture but it’s mixture of different tribes, different cultures and so that why i say myth is so complicate and very difficult to understand because there are so many different thinking which are mixed in it. Is there any kind of myth in your country that everyone knew about?

InStyle Asia: Like folklore and folk stories in Southeast Asia?
Omoi Sasaki: Some title, the book or anything?

InStyle Asia: Like in Thailand, people knew Ramakian (Ramayana) which is an ancient literature adopted from India, about the Hindu’s gods.
Omoi Sasaki: The story originated from outside of your country, from India?

InStyle Asia: The story is adopted from abroad but it was rewritten by many local poets and reinterpreted based on each country’s culture, developed into their own national literature, like Thai version, Cambodia version, Indonesian version or Burmese version. But the original story is begun in India.

InStyle Asia: Back to the film mr. Suzuki, What is your most favorite scene in this film?
Omoi Sasaki: The scene they are picking the grass and carrying it, that the scene i like the best

InStyle Asia: There are so many kind of film genres. If you can choose one, what kind of genre you love to make?
Omoi Sasaki: I don’t have any fixation on any genre at all.

InStyle Asia: For example, drama, documentary, fantasy, fiction or non fiction?
Omoi Sasaki: Documentary might be very difficult, may be.

InStyle Asia: Thank you so much to clarify behind-the-scenes story and what you think during making the film, The story is not difficult to understand, very interesting from the first chapter, even we are foreigner but we still can enjoy the story. The plot is so interesting as well. Hope to watch your next work again soon. Thank you very much.

"Mr.Suzuki-A Man In God's Country" (鈴木さん)
Released Date:  2020  Duration: 90 minutes
Spoken language: Japanese
Director and scriptwriter: Omoi Sasaki
Starring: Asako Ito, Norihiko Tsukuda, NaonYasunaga, Daisuke Matsunaga, Ken Nakajima, Mie Kirihara, Akko Tanaka and more.

Text/Photo: InStyle Asia

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