August 19, 2011

When I was young, I used to imagine that movies were a magical world of their own. I collected Star Log and Cineflix and bought all the books on special effects shows, all the while comparing Japanese and American technique. At that time, I always thought Japan had an edge (not that I’m a pro).

This was right around the time that Michael Jackson released his Thriller video and before CG. Rick Baker and Robin Botin were the stars of special effects makeup and everyone had a copy of Tom Savini’s Grand Illusion. I especially liked John Dykstra who would paint his actors’ faces to create wounds, included lots of gimmicky special props, and used remote controlled models to create the speed and feel of traveling through space, as each frame of film was like a frame in a manga.

Then came George Lucas and ILM and long after them Stan Winston and WETA…. Now everything is CG and it’s Japan who has fallen way behind. So much so, that it seems there’s barely room to move at all.

However, if Japan were to search for shot ideas where we hold our heads up in the world and say “This is something that noone has ever seen!,” I’m sure that we would be well received. There must be a road out of this situation. Just as Guillermo Del Toro had to shoot Pan’s Labyrinth in Italy, the world is waiting for images that we can only find in Japan! Those are what we should be searching for! And I’m sure they’re out there. There must be a hint for us to find!!!

In the art world, I learned how to find my own road.

And that’s why, before beginning this film, I made up my mind that I would not think too much about special effects. It would only make me upset. And it didn’t really matter to what we are doing. Now, however, I find myself knee deep in what I was trying to avoid.

I’m back in the world of my childhood.

I need to find some good ideas!!!

Sound assistant Manabu Kato. “Please wait for the plane to pass!”

Shinya Kikuchi (in the left of the photo) designing novelty goods on set. And then Watanabe. “Make your schedule chart first thing in the morning!” ( It’s a rule for all who have spent time at Kaikai Kiki!)

photo Taka Koike

Photographer Koichiro Matsui.
For this project, all photographers are freelance! Mr. Matsui also took photos of my show at Versailles. He speaks fluent French.