8/12 ① Production Snapshot Diary

August 19, 2012
One of the primary story elements for both Jellyfish Eyes 1 & 2 is the existence of a mysterious religious cult. The impetus for my beginning to think more deeply about Japan and religion was last year’s natural disasters. In times of great crisis the logical infallibility offered by science is incapable of providing aim to the human heart. In the face of the inescapable lack of reason confronted in these times, humans instead turn to religion. Even if we really on the infallibility of science in times of great emergency, this will do nothing to provide aid to the human heart. In seeing the strife we faced firsthand, I suddenly felt a certain realism in the old tricks and moral tales of Zen Buddhism and their necessity.
And in the aftermath of the incident at the nuclear plant and our continuing problems with nuclear power, it’s become clear that our devotion to science was simply another of these crutches meant to ease our minds. At times, our mental tricks must be clad in both deception and moral righteousness and both of these must share the same professed lies. This is the price that we humans have to pay for violating the laws of nature and seeking an easier, more comfortable way of life.
<Our daily blog on the radiation situation >
Having grown up in the 1970’s, I could only look on with puzzlement as the chaos of the postwar period gave birth to the economic recovery and society simultaneously protested against pollution and the Vietnam War. What helped address all the pressing questions these issues raised were children’s television programs like Ultraman, Ultra Seven, and Gegege no Kitaro. These were also forms of spiritual expedient which broke through the absurdity and darkness clouding my heart to communicate to me the truth of the world around me.
The Jellyfish Eyes series is realy about the stupor in which Japan has existed for the past 65 years and my efforts to send a message which can pierce it. That message is this: As people, we need companions and build societies with which we must cooperate. At the same time, however, that process involves its share of the unreasonable and the dark clouds of the human heart that produce such unreasonableness cannot be easily judged as simply evil. I wish to show children that the absurdity, deceit, and darkness that they witness around them are essential elements that all societies must address. For that reason, the existence of a religious group at the heart of the story was an absolute must.
(The sign in this picture shows the ten laws of the church. These were proposed by Yugo Haga aka “Gah-hah!”)
The church aims to take advantage of the disasters to recruit new members. These extras are portraying the educational community and as their characters are supposed to be rigorously trained, I have them practice their greetings over and over.
We developed different staged bows for the men and women as well.
And… bow!
Straight and tall!
You can also see the church’s emblem in many places.
Stylist Manami Ohsumi fits Shio-chan with a necktie using a church sash.

8/11 Production Snapshot Diary

August 18, 2012
Hair and makeup artist Chieko Shimizu-san’s makeup kit.
In a film, because there are a certain number of cuts we must get through in one day, the set tends to get very tense. Shimizu-san doesn’t forget to bring warmth and a sense of peace to such a set.
Nishimura-san is going over the emotional arch for today’s dramatic scenes and I’m checking the art props and creature design.
The house we’re using as a set. Crowded together in such a confined space, but moving forward.
Third Assistant Director Yugo Haga-san, also known as “Gah-hah”. He brings laughter to the set again today with his Joker T-shirt.
And here is a video of Gah-hah-san in all his glory! This is the reality on-set. Check out the video here.
Both Sound and Lighting are trying to make the absolute most of the small space.
Sound Man Ichiro Hoshi-san. “How old is Director Murakami? What? 50? Wow, we’re both born in the year of the tiger.” He is 74 years old. And he has more energy than me. Seriously.
Tennis balls.
No matter how small the residential streets are, we still have the same amount of equipment.
An incredible amount of things brought in.
To hang the lighting from the second floor, we build an aluminum rack.
The rain doesn’t stop us from shooting!
Shooting a nighter!
And tonight’s final shot! Along with Gah-hah-san’s “Tagosaku” outfit1

8/10 Production Snapshot Diary

August 18, 2012
The camera we’re using this time is an Alexa」. For Jellyfish Eyes 1, we used an “F3” so the photography quality is much higher this time.
Today we’re filming a mob scene.
It’s a gathering of the followers of the religious cult which appears in the story.
200 people! That’s a big cult!
And for some reason, there’s mandalas on the wall.
Their main prayer is “onmari shesowaka”
T-shirts presented to the extras.
What’s this… Oz Zingaro artist Aso Kojima! He drove 4 hours from Nagano just to be here.
In the center is hair and makeup staff Hiroko Makise.
Chieko Shimizu, who also did hair and makeup for Jellyfish Eyes 1. She creates a hairstyle for each and every one of the extras.
And since she lives nearby, she also brought watermelons for everyone.
The traces of a cult stampede!
Myself and Nishimura discussing our love of mob scenes.
Behind the scenes documentary staff Masatoshi Saito. He’s done making of videos for a whole ot of films. He even worked on the recent “Helter Skelter”!