“I believe in things that cannot be seen”

“I believe in things that cannot be seen”

Most likely, if A Naomi Kawase (Nara, 1969) If he had not been abandoned by his parents, and had he not grown up with the support of his great aunt and his adopted family, neither loss nor grief nor absence would have been the main theme of his cinema. The search for identity or the solace of nature would not be the driving force that defined, as it were, his entire filmography. Over the years, Kawase has become one of Japan’s most popular and sought-after cultural figures, a cult name whose work is defined above all by seeking the essence of things, exposing tradition and frailty, and immersing ourselves in human splendor. She became the youngest film director in the history of Cannes when she won the Camera d’Or Mu no Suzakuin 1997. He also won the Special Jury Grand Prix with Mogari no mori (2007). The Japanese director passes through Barcelona for a double reason: to participate as a translator in the film Luis Miniaro Filming takes place in the city and also a visit turn To which the first half of May is dedicated Film Library of Catalonia. Kawase speaks to us briefly, a few minutes before the retrospective begins, Futatsumi no Mado (“Quiet Waters”, 2014), and you will pass through it too Tarashimi (“Birth – Mother”, 2006), in a double session with Jinbin (2010); The trilogy katatsumori (“Snail”, 1994), Ten, Mitake (“See the Sky”, 1995) ed Hello, Katbuki (“The Sun Is Going Down”, 1996); Double pass with Ni tsumarete (“In His Arms”, 1992) ed What do you do? (“Sky, Wind, Fire, Water, Earth”, 2001); And feature films Sharasojo (“Al-Sharaa”, 2003) ed that (“A sweet shop in Tokyo”, 2015).

Naomi Kawase |. Photo: Marina Miguel

Your cinema is cinema that contains a large part of autobiographical features. Has it gotten to the point where you feel weak or stripped?

I’ve never felt naked. I create cinema that serves me in expressing what is inside me. Socially, I’m not sure I know how to express myself well, and I lack the words to explain all the things dancing in my head, or all the things I’m feeling. Cinema is the means through which I talk to myself. And not only that: I talk to people through my films. I communicate through cinema, which is my language and my way of speaking to viewers.

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You move in a muddy field between documentary and fiction. Do you understand the cinematic exercise as a reflection of reality rather than a simple tool for imaginative representation?

I think it’s a deliberate decision. I don’t categorize when I make a film, meaning I don’t think about whether I’m making a feature film or a documentary. I think things are about to merge, and I believe in gender differences. Actually, I’m not an academic director, in the sense that no one taught me how to create fiction. It’s natural for me to work with documentary elements, the reason is because I feel it makes everything more real and more authentic. I’ll give you an example, if I make a fantasy story set in a house, before filming I make the actors live in that house. This helps a lot in making everything more honest and transparent.

So how does it feel to make a documentary?

When I make a documentary, I do it through my eyes, so it is also fiction. With subjectivism, everyone imagines the world. It can be said that the two specializations can be combined.

Do you consider yourself particularly spiritual?

It depends on what is considered spiritual. But I would say yes. I definitely believe in unseen things. In the film that begins the course assigned to me by Filmoteca de Catalunya, Calm waters(2014) features a shamanic figure we call Yuta, who will act as a demigod, a half-god and half-human being. My ancestors were from this subtropical island called Amami Oshima, and I may have inherited this pagan tradition genetically.

Do you think you make films to find yourself and does that mean finding your origins?

Cinema is a window into time. It is a door to the past.

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The kindness in the characters and the way they portray people is very important.

I want people to feel good when they watch my films. You may carry good feelings and experience positive emotions. In my films I think positively, that there are less conflicts and wars in the world.

Cinema like yours can only be made by a good person.

I don’t know if I’m a good person, I’m not the one to say that. I recently visited a woman who threw me cards, looked at my fate and things like that, and assured me that it was so. See, it could be [riu].

Have you ever lost your temper?

Of course, I won’t deny that I get busy and show my personality when things go wrong. When I get angry, I even think about revenge: if someone does something to me, I want to get back at them. But in the end I always end up forgiving. Grudges and anger lead nowhere. At work, in my case, when I’m shooting a movie, these feelings are not only useless, they work against me. Attacking people is not okay. Karma eventually pays you back one way or another.

There are fewer and fewer reasons to believe in this human good. Your films are like a living refuge, a temple of light.

In today’s society we live in, many people criticize others, often behind their backs. We treat each other very poorly, in general. I believe in karma, and I believe that when people behave badly, bad things will happen to those same people, in the near or distant future. I myself have a very dark side, as I told you before, I am human, but it is important to look at the beautiful side of people.

But Naomi, it costs, and it costs more every day.

Yes, of course it costs. You have to work hard to achieve this. You have to make an effort to see the light and warmth of life. Nature, for example, provides you with this warmth, this peace.

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Your films reveal your obsession with nature.

Nature is enormous and sacred. It is clear evidence to me that there is something higher. Call it God or whatever you want.

Aren’t you worried about the world we are leaving to future generations?

When I did the film project 3.11 Feeling at home (2012), which, by the way, was Isaki Lacusa I Victor EresWe, among other guest directors, made it with the aim of raising money to create a forest in the area affected by Fukushima. What I mean is that we can talk a lot, and be sorry for the destruction of the planet, but we can also start reforesting, planting seeds, and taking actions that mitigate and reverse what is happening. Words, in this sense, are just words.

Who is he?

I make films so that the public, the press, and leaders can change the way they act based on ideas they may have. Journalists focus only on negative news, on scandals and environmental disasters, but as a society we also need constructive and exemplary information, which helps motivate and reinforces the idea that things can be improved.

Are you afraid of losing values ​​in an increasingly frenetic society?

There are many millennium traditions that have been lost in Japan. But look, I have a twenty-year-old son, and I know firsthand that his generation, as young as it is, is also taking back some of the things we did. I believe that good values ​​survive, are resisted, and are preserved. Or ways of doing, thinking, and living that we thought were extinct are saved. This is why it is so important to pass on the values ​​that we consider healthy and good to future generations.

Cinema is a good tool for this transfer process.

Culture and art are our best card to make the world less morally flawed.

Naomi Kawase |. Photo: Marina Miguel

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