Akiko Ooku is a Japanese film director, born in 1968 in Yokohama. She studied political sciences at Meiji University, but quickly decided to switch to studying film at Eigabi College. Her films generally depict neurotic females in their 30s and the realities of substantial corporations. She accomplished her breakthrough in 2017 with “Tremble All You Want”, shown at numerous international festivals.
On the occasion of “Sweet Grappa Treatments” screening at 5 Flavours, we speak with her about grappa, females dating in their 40s, her most recent film, “Wedding Higher” and numerous other subjects.
My Sweet Grappa Treatments screening at Five Flavours
Do you like sweet grappa? That is why you gave this title to the film?
Of course! The Japanese title is basically extra like “Sweet Alcohol” and I was not confident what the precise alcohol could be. Nevertheless, when I went to Udine for the duration of the spring, I tasted grappa, and I felt it is the fantastic drink for this film.
What would the scenario be in reality, if a lady in her 40s decided to date these days in Japan?
It would be type of like in the film. A lot of females that age really feel that it is as well a lot difficulty to date, so they just don&rsquort do it. There is a second form of females in their 40s, who had been constantly incredibly focused on their profession and they did not have time for dating, but they also really feel they do not want to pursue it any longer.
So, is the protagonist of the film the only a single prepared to do it?
(laughter) The point about the character is that I did not want to make her stereotypical, as females are in Japanese films. I did not want her to be a mom, a wife, a “normal” lady, so I decided to make her incredibly charming and also an individual who is not obsessed with her function, so she can date guys.
Why have her date a younger guy and not a guy her age let&rsquors say.
This was how the story in the book the script is adapted from was, and I talked with the author, and he mentioned that there is no specific cause why she is dating a younger guy. To share an anecdote, when I was reading the book, I had an image of what the characters would appear like and I was attempting to make the primary character “suitable” to date a younger guy, and I chose Yasuko Matsuyuki primarily based on that thought. When the author saw her even so, he believed that she is way as well lovely to play this character (laughter)
The subsequent is a bit individual I guess. Have you ever dated a guy in his 20s?
No, only when I was in my 20s.
Do you like the protagonist of the film, would you go out and have grappa with her?
Of course! I would seriously like to meet her in individual, I consider she is a terrific lady.
Can you give us some information about the casting?
As I mentioned just before, as I was reading the book, I believed that the protagonist should really certainly be a quite lady, so I was searching for actresses in their 40s I believed they had been incredibly lovely. Nevertheless, a single incredibly crucial point about Yasuko Matsuyuki is that she has type of a warm aura about her, and that is why I believed she would be fantastic for the part.
Relating to Himizu Hiroya who plays Okamoto, I was pondering of what aura a younger man who dates an older lady should really have, and I was attempting to obtain an individual who would be comfy playing that aspect. That is why I chose him, playing a 20-year old man. He was basically even younger at the time, he was 19.
Do you let improvisation to your actors?
When it comes to set components I do not let improvisation there, but when it comes to components that appear extra like a functionality, I do let. There was a single point that was not in the book, the second kiss, following the a single on the sofa when the girl kisses the guy, we wanted to show that he also desires to kiss her, so the second kiss when they are washing the dishes, it was the actors&rsquor proposition.
Can you give us some specifics with regards to cinematography, what you wanted to do with the visuals of the film.
I have been operating for a extended time with DP Natsuyo Nakamura and there was no precise point about the aesthetics, I was only attempting to prevent possessing this connection among an older lady and a young guy appear appalling. Thus, I employed lighter colors, in order to make it a lot easier on the eye.
“Wedding High”, your most recent film, is incredibly diverse from your preceding ones, considering the fact that it is a mainstream film with an ensemble cast. How was the practical experience?
Like you mentioned, it is a incredibly diverse film. One particular aspect that is incredibly diverse is the wedding ceremony, which points towards a feelgood film. My favourite wedding scene basically is from the film “After the Wedding”, which is a incredibly dark a single, so I believed it would be a challenge to myself to make a vibrant satisfied film about a Japanese wedding.
Is it hard operating with so numerous actors?
Extremely hard! But it is also incredibly enjoyable.
Thinking about this was a major production, how a lot artistic freedom did you have?
I believed it would be incredibly tight, but it was a lot improved than I believed basically, I had a lot of artistic freedom. For instance, at 1st, it was supposed to be a film with a lot of male characters, but I added numerous female characters. That the protagonist is a wedding planner but has failed in her marriage was also my thought.
Do you program on going towards this mainstream path moving forward?
I am not confident, I like each major and compact productions. I am just satisfied producing films.
What is normally the reaction of the Japanese audience to your films?
Their reactions are fantastic, since they know what to anticipate from my films, specifically with regards to this form of ironic comedy I constantly implement.
What is the scenario with the Japanese film sector at the moment?
The major production films are now largely created for Television, so there is a pattern in them and they are becoming incredibly equivalent. Japanese producers take into consideration the reality that there are numerous Japanese men and women who do not go to the cinema even when per year. The art cinema is attempting to fight against it, but it is hard.
Are you operating on something new?
I have scripts for six films, but for now, I am shooting a Television show in January for NHK and in the summer season, I will begin operating on my subsequent film.