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10/21(Mon)Japanese Cinema Splash: “Night and Keigo’s Car”Q&A Session: Notes & Quotes

Night and Keigo’s Car

©2013 TIFF

Q&A session was held for the Japanese Cinema Splash section, Night and Keigo’s Car as follows:
Time & Location:
October 21st (Monday), from 20:25 @TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills Screen 3
Yusuke Ichikawa (Director/Screenplay/Editor), Takeshi Itakura (Actor), So Ikeno (Actor), Akane Tominaga (Actress)
Director Yusuke Ichikawa developed the idea of filming “Night and Keigo’s Car”, the Grand Prize winner of the 2013 PIA Film Festival Awards, simply because he missed driving around in his car after relocating to Tokyo from rural Japan.
He recruited the film’s staff and cast through an online message board, which is how he met actors Takeshi Itakura, So Ikeno, and Akane Tominaga. “I first met Mr. Ichikawa in a café in Shinjuku, and 10 minutes into the conversation, he told me that I’m hired,” Itakura said. “Obviously I was thrilled, but also worried as he hadn’t seen my acting at all. But Mr. Ichikawa assured me that I would be fine.” To this, Ikeno added, “I was hired before I’d even met Mr. Ichikawa in person. I was in the U.S. at the time, and was going through the bulletin board in hopes of finding work upon returning to Japan. I had informed Mr. Ichikawa that I was willing to audition, but he said that was unnecessary and the part was mine.” Tominaga shared that her experience was similar, commenting that “I said that I would at least read some lines, but the director insisted that I already have the part.” To this, Ichikawa replied that he thought each actor fit perfectly for the part. “It was instinct. Besides, I wasn’t very concerned if they could act or not.” When asked if he was always this lucky, the director replied, “Not at all. But so far my luck in filmmaking has made up for my previous lack of luck.”
Night and Keigo’s Car

©2013 TIFF
Yusuke Ichikawa (Director/Screenplay/Editor)

The film did have a script, but most of the lines were improvised. “I asked the actors to have fun and let loose, and don’t worry about the footage because I can always edit.” Ichikawa said, and the actors agreed that this freedom allowed them to enjoy the filming process. “My motto is, don’t worry about the small things.” says Ichikawa. Asked of their impressions of the director, Itakura stated that “Mr. Ichikawa is very mellow, but he is quietly opinionated. He doesn’t fuss over our acting but he has a vision as to how a scene should be.” Ikeno commented that “Working with him, I realized that Mr. Ichikawa’s dedication makes him very particular about certain scenes.” Tominaga admitted that she was a bit concerned in the beginning. “I was worried how Mr. Ichikawa had cast us so casually, but as I got to know him I realized what a strong and kind person he was.”
Night and Keigo’s Car  Night and Keigo’s Car  Night and Keigo’s Car

©2013 TIFF
to the left:Takeshi Itakura (Actor), So Ikeno (Actor), Akane Tominaga (Actress)

On the scene where the camera’s shadow becomes visible to the audience, Ichikawa stated that not only was it intentional, it is one of the scenes that he was most fixated about. “In that scene where Keigo is severely beaten by the hoodlums, he is almost fatally hurt. As he floats back into consciousness, there is confusion in his memory as to who he is, Keigo the character or So Ikeno the actor. This is where the camera becomes visible to him, and the audience. The camera’s shadow was one of the scenes I’d wanted to film the most in making this movie.” Ichikawa commented that the scene where Keigo goes out of frame when their cars are stolen has the same intention. “In that scene, I’m trying to express that we are actually filming this, that it’s fiction. I hoped to depict in that scene the significance of the camera, the structure of filmmaking, a world of fantasy and the reality of filming it, and everything in between. I think I was able to capture the fragility of cinema in these two scenes.”
The cost of making this film was about 1 million yen, according to Ichikawa. “I used the money I’ve saved over the years, thinking this was the last movie I would make and I’d cherish the memory always. Since I won the Grand Prize and 1 million yen in prize money, I suppose I can make another film!”
This year’s PFF Grand-prix winning film is screened at TIFF as a special collaboration with the PIA Film Festival.
Japanese Cinema Splash section
Night and Keigo’s Car

KEIRIN.JPThe 25th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
25th Tokyo International Film Festival(2012)