Over two weeks have passed since the shocking earthquake.
For the last week I have been away at the Hong Kong
International Film Festival, but my heart was so restless that
I could not bring myself to write about the films.
We have been bitterly exposed to the menace of nature,
what with the earthquake, Tsunami, storm winds and snow.
Moreover, the radioactivity leaking from the nuclear power plant
is the threatening all of existence by it’s influence on the water.
The whole world seems to have been unsettled during the
last two weeks as homo sapiens are tested to the full
by this series of events.
As the true scale of the disaster unfolds our minds cannot
cope and we seem to be losing our nerve, even if
we are not direct victims of the earthquake
and it’s related events.
What is it that film can achieve now?
I think everyone in the film industry is racking their brains
for the answer to that.
I think that films have hundreds of things to do when it
comes to rehabilitation after this earthquake disaster.
“Films have the power to change human’s lives”.
I hold great faith in this statement when I purchase a film,
do overseas promotion or think about a films advertising
Films can make you laugh, cry or get excited, so I believe
that entertainment has the power to heal the injured
minds of people affected by this disaster.
Due to the opening scene in “Hereafter”, which features
a disaster similar to the one in Japan, Clint Eastwood’s
new film has been pulled from circulation.
I heard that there are arguments both for and against this
decision. However, over time the film “which is able to move
people’s minds” will also have “a power to grow
in people’s memory”.
Someday, somewhere we will have the chance to watch it,
even if now it has disappeared from screens.
We don’t have to be in a rush to do so.
I am taking it easy, like this. It is not a time to argue.
Fortunately, film is a “complex art”.
We can reproduce and extend impressions as much as we like.
It is very different from a live performance. Live performance
needs a certain spirit each time and place, and that spirit is
everything in a live performance.
We can make lots of films and digital copies, so we can
diffuse an impression, with the approval of the rights holders,
to lots of people at once. This is the media known as film.
I think we must make the best use of this complex arts merits
to the maximum, and broaden the shared experience of
watching amongst the people, who are still feeling unsettled.
People need entertainment.
Film as an entertainment can be shown to hundreds and
sometimes thousands of people at the same time on one screen,
so people can really enjoy a shared experience.
When a film achieves it role of granting shared experience of
a common emotion then the audience will want to see it,
whatever the distributor thinks. Regardless whether showing
or not showing it is the right decision it will end being sold in
the underground passages of stations at bargain rates.
I am sure that many people want to watch the films no matter how.
PIrated copies are in circulation despite the rights holders
refusal to release the films.
Looking at it from a different angle it adds credence
to the fact that these films are worth watching.
In the film industry, it is said that if a film leaves the
producer’s control once it is released, it is a “HIT”.
I think “Hereafter” is a meaningful film that leaves
a lasting impression.
Conversely, a film that is shown in the cinema now
because the producer thought it was now the appropriate time
to do so, may well be cold-shouldered by the audience.
This sometimes happens….
Under the situation like this, we cannot show it just because
we want to, and in the same way we cannot watch something
just because we want to. Films in the present situation are
being shown due to compulsion.
“Is it possible to share with audiences through film?”
Originally, that was the fundamental theme.
Now film producers have a chance to reconfirm this simple idea.
I am going to grasp it.
The short term view is that there is a big loss due to cancellation
of releases, with the knock-on effect that the box-office drops off
overall. Also that opportunities are lost and that some films
have to renunciate their release due to risky advertising.
What about the long view?
We can share the same emotions with total strangers in a cinema.
We can share the same thrills. I think now is the time shine
the spotlight on the power of films.
We are confronted by realities of life on a scale we have
never seen before in films – 9/11 terrorist attacks and Tsunamis.
I think that fantasy films are best placed to alleviate the depressive
mood of the world, and have the power to make us dream
and have hope. So, fantasy films are going to catch the
audiences hearts for the time being, I guess.
I heard that Disney’s “Tangled” drew audiences totalling
130% compared to last year. I can understand this.
What sort of film can ease peoples troubles at this time
other than Disney or Studio Ghibli?
They are both film-makers who for such a long time
have bought us messages of love, hope and the power to dream.
So, I wish Disney and Ghibli would supply a mobile cinema
with a projector for the children of the disaster-striken area.
They are in need of the hopes and dreams that the film industry
can provide. I think, if all the children could come together to
watch Disney and Ghibli films in an open space, when it warms up,
a sad place of psychic trauma, could be changed into a happy
memorial place for them. It would be really lovely if it could be
topped off with a fireworks display. The children would gain
hope from the depths of their sorrow and become
excited for the future.
This is my view and my way of thinking to face this tragedy
from film industry point of view.
Now is the time for the film industry to come together and
use our collective might to prop up the support effort,
and to campaign at full force – with the “rehabilitation
of inspirational films” and rediscovery of the shared
experience of cinema”.
“The film industry is having a hard time with decreasing attendances,
it is in an extremely precarious position”.
We used to say this in the past, but it should now be about the present.
Now is the chance to all reset.
Walt Disney quote:
You can design, create and build the most wonderful place in the world,
but it takes people to make a dream into reality.
Hayao Miyazaki quote:
Question: What kind of jobs should the children who have grown
up with your films choose?
Answer: I want them to just be normal people.
The world depicted in films has become reality in rapid succession
- radioactivity from nuclear power plants;
disastrous tectonic plate movement; Mega-Tusnami;
deforestation; global warming; abnormal weather;
oil field depletion..
I guess the only thing remaining is Armageddon.
Can we make a “normal” life for future generations?
Do they still learn how to imagine a lot from films?
Film can do something,
it can be the shared experience of emotions”.
By the way, UNIQLO’s president is so cool. In good faith
he donated one billion yen. Masayoshi Son from SOFTBAK is too cool.
He donated 10 billion yen. Their money is out from their personal pokets,
but they were both very quiet about it, no song and dance.
It is very manly behaviour.
However, I am a petite president of a petite company.
My donation is also a petite sum of money,
and I do not own a film which could be released and
free people’s minds from the current stresses and strains.
I feel ashamed that I cannot do anything on a global scale
except have some idea like this.
With this in mind, I have a desire to make a film which
will “touch peoples hearts”. Well, I have to hurry up.
(Just an Japanese onomatopoeic word stemming from
a government information film – see the above CM clip, very popular!!)
First of all, I have heard that the reconstruction fund is still not enough.
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