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Special Interview: Part 6 “The charm of pictures that keep you enthralled”

Part 6 “The charm of pictures that keep you enthralled”



M: Another work that caught my attention is “Belle”.

T: “Belle” is a British film, but it was brought out by Fox Searchlight. It’s a very profound entertainment film.

M: Quite different in style to “The Forest”. (laughs)

T: There’s romance, there’s family ties. It’s a story of the choices of a woman fighting in the light of a hierarchical society and prejudice that obstruct these. It’s a cathartic depiction, and a really wonderful film.

M: What’s it about?

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T: It’s set in 18th century England. It portrays the life of Belle, the daughter of a Navy officer, Sir Lindsay, and a black slave woman.

M: England at the time was a hierarchical society, and I suppose there would have been much discrimination and prejudice towards a black slave woman among the aristocracy.

T: Yes. The black woman and the white woman with her in this photo are cousins, but Belle’s existence was kept hidden.

M: As you would expect.

T: However, a portrait of the two was discovered in 2007. Belle’s existence came to light when it was asked who the black woman in the picture was. It was found out that this contributed to the abolition of slavery in Britain. The film starts at that time.

T: Yuki Horikoshi will be giving commentary on the film. Ms. Horikoshi just happened to translate the book “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” last year, for which she won last year’s Bungeisho Award.

M: It’s theme has some similarities to “Belle”.

T: In that sense, they are similar in that they are both about the life of a woman of slave lineage. And both have a strong story that will resonate today.

T: The novel was written 150 years ago but it’s a best seller now in America.

M: You mean the book is a recent translation of a book published 150 years ago?

T: No. There’s a curious coincidence there. The book Ms. Horikoshi translated was also just recently dug up. It was written a long time ago, but it surfaced only recently, so Ms. Horikoshi’s book and the film “Belle” are similar in that they are both “discovered history”.

M: It’s “Discovered history”?

K: Belle is originally a British film but apparently it was first screened in America. It went from being at shown at about five cinemas to being shown at 500.

T: The number of cinemas kept multiplied week by week with word of mouth.

M: That shows that there must have been something engaging about it.

K: In Japan there’s not much familiarity with racial issues, especially regarding black people.

M: It’s not being shown at cinemas.

K: So Ms. Horikoshi will give her commentary from the perspective of a modern woman.

T: Ms. Horikoshi is a dedicated career woman who works for a foreign consulting company.

K: She was brought up in America and Prague, and was the youngest person ever to enter the Foreign Ministry.

M: An amazing person.

T: Frightening. (laughs)

M: Hahaha

T: With that kind of career, she says that global capitalism itself is the modern slavery. She was saying that she wants to raise the question, especially to women, of how to live in today’s reality where, as a result of global capitalism, they have to opt for a life without choices.

M: It’s a problem for modern women, too.

T: It’s a film I particularly want many women to see.


M: “Gold” also looks like the kind of film I would like. I’d like to see it.

T: The pictures are especially powerful. The pictures will captivate you till the end.

M: I saw the trailer and really felt the power of the pictures.

T: The story is pushed by all sorts of action. You continue to wait and watch. You wonder exactly what is going on. It holds your interest until the end.

M: You mean it’s not the appeal of the story or even the actors’ performance?

T: Of course they both have their own appeal, but it’s the strength of the pictures, hands down.

M: Is the director someone who has experience?

T: Yes, he is. To tell the truth, we didn’t know of him, but there’s a movement called the Berlin School, which itself emerged in the 2000′s. Apparently, it’s big news and an event to go down in film history.

M: I didn’t know that.

T: There was a movement called “New German Cinema” in the past, and this is the younger generation of that. The movement ties together reality and films.

M: German films have a distinct feel to them, don’t they?

T: This film feels like the director’s own endeavor, rather than a German film. This is his first historical film and his first time making a film set overseas. I imagine it was a challenging film for the director himself.

M: The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, didn’t it?

T: In any event, the woman in this film is cool. All I can say is that you should see it.

M: It’s a film that’s hard to describe.

T: Yeah. It’s not like anything else. What would you say? It’s detached. And it’s a very tense movie.

M: It’s about people journeying in search of gold in the Canadian Gold Rush era, isn’t it?

T: That’s right.

M: They drop out one at a time. That’s not portrayed particularly dramatically.

T: Actually that’s what makes the drama. Deliberately not giving exaggerated performances.

M: Part of the appeal of the film is the engaging pictures. You just want to keep watching the pictures, don’t you?

T: In that sense the films we have this time all have strong pictures.

M: It’s the strength of the pictures themselves, isn’t it?

T: Right. Not extraordinary performances or strange characters.

M: Not making a display of being unusual.

T: So many films where they’ve put everything into the pictures.

M: I can’t wait.



(To be continued)