What I want to catch on film is “what I feel at that time and at that point”.
We are bringing you the interview with Kazuya Ogawa, a film director who made a movie called “Pink Subaru”. The last part is the unique standpoint and ideas of a filmmaker who filmed a comedy movie in a conflict-affected region.
*Pink Subaru official website (Japanese): Click here!
I’ve heard that you studied film in New York before you went to Italy.
The 9.11 terrorist attacks occurred while I was in NY. I watched TV news all the time right after the incident, then got away from TV in a little time. We had no Twitter or Facebook, even blogs were less common at that time so I had a strong urge to know how the general public felt about the terrorist attacks. I wanted to listen to people around me rather than the news from the major media. So I made a short film out of their voices and some fictional elements.
What I want to catch on film is “what I feel at that time and at that point”. That’s been my motto since before 9.11.
I think that evolved into your monumental work.
Yes. I am a man who wants to see not only the front but also the back. Even if the front surface of the box has a beautiful design, I think that the back surface might have a more beautiful one. I think I have been like that since I was a kid. Negatively speaking I’m a rebel.
Right: Kazuya Ogawa Left: Keisuke Tanaka (Producer)
Photo by Mai Namiki
Tokuhashi: While many people rush at the treasure, one man finds a tiny jewel which someone has dropped. That’s you.
Namiki: There are some people who participate in assistance for Palestine around me. But I think clamor for support of Palestine is not enough. Holding events regarding Palestine is not enough, too. But once someone who used to be unconnected with it shows a different side of Palestine, supportive actions would speed up. That’s my hope.
Tokuhashi: The movie is covered by many kinds of media, I think it’s because it has new angles and ideas. Moreover its poster is literally “pink”!
The title “Pink Subaru” was given early. In general, Arab guys are embarrassed by pink color. “Pink Subaru” is based on that, but most of all, I wanted to indicate by the title that it’s not a scary movie.
Some people may not think it’s not a film about Palestine.
I don’t care if you think it’s a movie about Pakistan. If you think that it’s about a war-torn country, that’s good enough for me. “Pink” is a good contrast to “war”.
I was tempted to go to Palestine after the movie was over. For example, I didn’t know that the employee at the Subaru dealer was Jewish as it was that she talked closely with a Palestinian man and his sister.
So I didn’t realize that the woman was Jewish until she said, “I’ve never attended an Arabian-style wedding” because I can’t distinguish between Hebrew and Arabic. It’s a common sight, right?
Ogawa: A few people don’t like that, but I know there’re many Israelis and Palestinians who overcome religious and racial differences and make friends with each other.
If that’s the case, I want to go to Palestine.
If you go there, you should go with a person who knows well about Palestine. I don’t mean it’s a dangerous place. I mean it’ll be more convenient if you go there with someone who has a knack for traveling there. And I recommend to go to both Israel and Palestine. If you go to those countries, I definitely recommend to go with a person familiar with the area.
Namiki: I used to be a tour guide for Japanese tourists in the region. I took them to many places including refugee camps. I wanted them to feel that the Middle East is relatively approachable for Japanese. Don’t you want people to make trips to the area?
Yes, I do. Go there, enjoy it and make friends with local people there.
This movie may be highly motivating for us to do that.
But let me tell you something. You should not go to Tayibe directly by taxi from other Israeli cities. It’s not because you would involve the risk of terrorist attack, it’s because Tayibe is a special place, a Palestinian town in Israel. If you go there directly from Tel Aviv or other Israeli cities, they would feel suspicious of you. However if you have even one friend in the town, you will be able to make friends with all of the Tayibe residents.
Do you think movies will change the world?
Ogawa: Of course, they will.
Tanaka: A movie is a part of the media which makes it possible to transmit messages to the rest of the world. That’s the difference from TV. Japanese dramas won’t be broadcasted across the globe, but your movies have chances of being screened on every corner of the earth.
Our dream is that our movie will be played at a small theater in a small village in a country where we have never been to.
Ogawa: Also movies go down in history. If your movie is excellent, it’s possible for it to be seen even 100 years later.
A movie is a kind of “self-contained world”. You can enter into the world which was created by many people including actors, writers, directors, producers, etc. You can share something with them, which means that you can experience something, not only seeing the movie. I think the most excellent movie is the one in which the audience feels that it can experience something through it.
Tanaka: Some audiences of “Pink Subaru” told us that they could experience countries that they didn’t know about. When considering that, the ticket price of “Pink Subaru” is not so expensive.
Will it be showed in Israel and Palestine?
I hope so. People in Tayibe haven`t see this movie yet, so I want them to see.
Here’s my last question. What is this movie to you?
It’s an “experience”!
Pink Subaru official website (Japanese)：http://www.pinksubaru.jp/
*It’ll begin showing on June 25, 2011, at the “Umeda Garden Cinema” in Osaka.