Exclusive Interview with director Kishi Yoshiyuki from the film (ab) normal desire

Director Kishi Yoshiyuki after interview/ photo: inStyle Asia 

The stories about people who were overlooked from majorities in society is another topic which is highlighted through many films in  Tokyo International Film Festival this year.

"(ab) normal desire" (性欲, Seiyoku in Japanese title) is one of the films in Competition category at 36th Tokyo International Film Festival 2023 which is held during 23 October to 1 November 2023. By the courtesy of TIFF, we got an opportunity to have special interview with Kishi Yoshiyuki, a film director who shares us his viewpoints about the latest work and also his directing style.

Q: What is your main reason to make this film?

When i was asked to make this story for a movie, i read the original novel and i felt that there are so many things I don't know, don't understand but i read and kept them in my mind. I wanted to focus on minorities and i wanted a lot of people, i thought by myself that they are majorities understand them by watching my film and thinking about diversity.

Director Kishi Yoshiyuki after interview/ photo: inStyle Asia 

Q: What is the reason you picked up the water theme and what is your idea behind it?

The water is originally a theme based on the novel. In the novel, there are people who feel about "sexual excitement" by the water. Water symbolises a lot of things but it's challenging for me to depict the water in the film, i wanted to try.

©2021 Asai Ryo/Shinchosha @2023 (Ab)normal Desire Committee

Q: Internet and social media is a new way to bring all different people gathering together like their own community. What do you think about this?

Internet and social media have both good and bad aspect. I can't think of society without those things at this moment, so overall i accepted internet and social medias as part of each community.

Q: Do you think Japan opened the space to those who living different from majorities and accepted them to live normally?

I believed that Japan are changing for its diversity, but it probably difficult to make it happen soon.

Director Kishi Yoshiyuki after interview/ photo: inStyle Asia 

Q: Do you think it's difficult?

Why i think it's difficult, because there are people who were bullied and also have violent people in our society. It's human nature which is not all of us but some of us have those kind of instinct to hurt others. Not only in Japan, but every countries also have those people. If those who decided to hurt people don't understand what they are doing, those things still continue.

©2021 Asai Ryo/Shinchosha @2023 (Ab)normal Desire Committee

Q: You also mentioned about LGBT group in the movie, do you think they are one of the forgotten communities which is isolated from majorities in Japan?

I'd like to say how society think about LGBT communities, it's changing and may be not isolated, they are mingled with majorities, i don't think they were isolated from others.

Q: About the film locations, where you took this film? The waterfall is really beautiful and how you found it?

It was shooting at Toshigi prefecture but the story is in Hiroshima prefecture, it's secret (laugh). At the beginning, I was thinking about a big water dam because i wanted to shoot the scene where the big amount of water flocking extremely and the novel also showed the water have life, but i can't find the water dam where is matching with my image, so i changed to the waterfall in Toshigi prefecture instead.

©2021 Asai Ryo/Shinchosha @2023 (Ab)normal Desire Committee

Q: When you start shooting and how long you made this film?

It was starting on September 2022, and took a month and half.

Q: I see, we also saw the autumn colors in the film that could be early Autumn. 

Yes, exactly.

Q: How about your reason to cast the main characters?

For Goro Inagaki and Yui Aragaki, they appeared in many Japanese drama, but the characters they are  acting in this film is different from their own character. I think, as movie itself is challenging enough, i wanted the actors challenging  their own character as well. So, my intention is, i wanted to surprise all actors.

Q: Do you think social media can change the Japanese society nowadays and let people understand the other people who are different from them, make it more diversity and even internationalize the way of thinkings, not Japanese way but open more, is it possible?

It depended on intentions of those who are making social media,  because sometimes your face are not appeared on the social media, but some people may attacked others on the media. I'd like to say that if a lot of people using social media in a good intention, it may go in the positive way like you said, people will understand each other.

Q: What is the most difficult task you experienced during make this film and how you managed it?

For me, I had a difficult time to understand how people feel the sexual excitement by water, so i did a lot of research on internet and accidentally found it on the blog by a german who writing about the sexual excitement by the water. I talked a lot with Yui Aragaki, now we found the fact but if we depend on that fact too much, it may limit our way to express. 

In the movie, there are several variations, there is one guy who liked the wet clothes and others who liked splashing water, so they are different. We try not to depend too much on the fact we found, but used our imagination instead.

Q: How about your most favourite scene?

There are many favourite scenes. The first one which came into my mind is, the sex scene without having sex.

One of the themes in this movie is,  a man holding a girl when she falling down. Thanks to the good acting of those two actors, it was  one of my favourite scenes.

Q: How different between this film and your previous works?

When the sun rising, the shades may reach to the areas you can see and you can't see. The story that i wanted to depict by the movie is actually the same, but the film is very new to me, it's so challenging.

Q: How about your next project and what genre you want to make for the next one?

Comedy. Based on the same theme but i wanted to focus on people who can't be seen in the light. The next project is about love story with a lot of laughing and of course depicting it seriously is so important for the film.

Q: You chose Vaundy to make the themed song?

Our producer proposed Vaundy for making a themed song. Actually, there are a female photographer who came to our locations and took many photos. She made a photo album and Vaundy looked at it and make the music so it's not just a tied up work, but Vaundy make a song based on the theme and atmosphere in the movie. It worked well with the movie.

©2021 Asai Ryo/Shinchosha @2023 (Ab)normal Desire Committee

Story

Hiroki Terai (Goro Inagaki), a prosecutor who lives in Yokohama. He has a son who is not going to school and he often clashes with his wife about his son's education. Natsuki Kiryu (Yui Aragaki) who works as a saleswoman at a shopping mall in Hiroshima. She lives at her parents' house. One day, she knew that Yoshimichi Sasaki (Hayato Isomura), her old friend in the same school has returned to hometown. 

Daiya Morohashi (Kanta Sato) is a good looking boy and joins the dance club at school. Revealing the blur space about the gender identities between "Male and Female"  through dance which is what he liked and being watched by others caused him keep a  distance from society. "Yaeko Kanbe" (Ayaka Higashino) joins the same dance club. She was only interested in Daiya and attempted to get close by breaking the wall he made. This five people came from different backgrounds, including family environment, sexual orientation and appearance. They can't connect with others, that's why they wanted to connect with "someone" who understand them. The story of people who need to connect with someone.

©2021 Asai Ryo/Shinchosha @2023 (Ab)normal Desire Committee

About Director Kishi Yoshiyuki

Yoshiyuki Kishi (born in 1964 at Mogami Town, Yamagata prefecture) is a film director, television producer.

After graduated from Yamagata Prefectural Shinjo-kita High School, he entered Waseda University's Faculty of Education. He joinned a scenario research group and immersed himself in film production. After graduated from university in 1987, he has worked on many variety shows and documentary programs such as  "America Crossing Ultra Quiz'' (NTV), "World Ururun Sojourn'' (MBS) and "Jonetsu Tairiku'' (MBS) and he has been producing the documentary dramas mainly on NHK. He made his feature film debut with "Double Life'' (2016) and won the Best Director Award at 14th Vladivostok International Film Festival and the Special Jury Award at the 16th New York Asian Film Festival. 

His second film “Wilderness” (2017/ Screenplay: Takehiko Minato) won the 41st Japan Academy Award for Best Actor (Masaki Suda) and the 12th Asian Film Award for Best Supporting Actor (Yang Ik-June) and won numerous awards at major domestic film awards. His third film, "Prior Convictions" (2022) won the 47th Hochi Film Award for Best Actress (Kasumi Arimura).

Official Websitehttps://www.bitters.co.jp/seiyoku


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