Catch phrases are often used to express the hype surrounding a lot of films, although not all of them. The influence of someone unknown, their way of colourful expression, and their name. Interpretation and understanding are considered the greatest of priorities, and the reason why these keywords are so prominent. Now the ‘media’ society totals 100 million overall. It is said that the story of Mamoru Samuragochi, the hero of ‘FAKE’ is quite timely, a story that people will easily be drawn to. During the film the main setting is Mamoru Samuragochi’s home, and among the different people that visit him the most calm was director Tatsuya Mori. “Originally I wasn’t interested, but when we met for the first time I thought this would make a good film”, remarks Tatsuya Mori at the beginning of the interview. The figure of Samuragochi offered in ‘FAKE’ is different from the (fake) composer causing a stir by making headline news as a con-artist. Instead, he’s a gentlemen and husband, leading a simple life with his wife, Kaori.
‘FAKE’ unfolds to disprove media reporting. It depends on who is watching whether they believe or not.
Photo, Ryo Kawanishi (Portrait) | Text & Edit, Yusuke Osumi
Born 1959 in Kure City, Hiroshima. At Rikkyo University, while belonging to the movie club, also appeared in works directed by Ishī Sogo (now Ishī Gakuryū) and Kiyoshi Kurosawa while at the same time shooting his own 8mm films. He joined a television production company in 1986, then became freelance, and his debut television documentary followed dwarf wrestling in ‘Mizettopuroresu Densetsu Chīsana Kyojin-tachi’ (Small Legendary Midget Wrestling Titans). Later, was involved in a number of news reports with a focus on documentary-based programmes. ‘FAKE’ is his first work in 15 years since ‘A2’.
Interestingly, the documentary is at the mercy of reality.
——First of all, what was your impression over the periods spent face-on with Mamoru Samuragochi?
Tatsuya Mori : My first impression of him has remained the same.
——In what way?
Mori : His gentle manner, how he turned his mind to various things, or even cared about people.
——Undoubtedly. The film recognised the way in which he fortified himself. But after being allowed to view, and looking back at the ‘appearance’ of this and that, bearing in mind the title ‘FAKE’ once again, what came from the film was the question of whether fake or not.
Mori : Well, regardless of whether it is a film or not, people are not acting. There’s no real way for the truth to come out. So in that sense, is it bad even if the idea is artificial? But, what will end up being shot and made, however provocative it is, I have established for film because it’s not that interesting. In the documentary it was enjoyable to make light of things in real life. So, was not that concerned about how things were constructed.
——I see. I’m glad to hear it.
© 2016 FAKE production committee
More than half a year had elapsed since ‘that’ last meeting at the end of last year and his hair had been drastically cut. Mr. Mamoru Samuragochi now looks like he did before, and currently stays indoors.
Mori : Because he’s an expressive person, can occasionally see that he is also obviously somewhere very productive. Human beings born everyday worldwide come in not only but a variety of colours. It’s consistently consider as one colour by the media. As a result, the sky is blue, leaves are green and no is white. Any difference between them has gone. And very unlike the world.
——Having both advantages and disadvantages it feels beyond a question of whether true or not. In spite of having lots of hidden truths, the film is made without praise or ridicule. So, there are now fewer people that can continue to capture the essence of action like Tatsuya Mori … I believe.
Mori : It’s not that difficult you know. But on television, there may be complaints from viewers and result in a low rating to begin with. Which is why fewer people do it.
Any expression of news will always hurt someone.
——Don’t you think this is pitting the film against the media?
Mori : First off, I think it is good for society or rather media to have perfect literacy (where media would place things in order). And the reason why I simplify media is I think for the sake of clarity. Because my work is long and hard to understand everyone is unwilling to try and watch it. Of course, making things easily understood is perfectly natural, but by over doing things would be over-simplified and round-off, and made more and more uninteresting. It should be understood.
——Can the same be said with what also happened to Samuragochi himself?
Mori : The scale of hearing loss can be very severe. As for Samuragochi’s hearing, what he can and can’t hear changes depending on his physical condition. He can lipread (determining words by the shape of mouth) when it’s someone close but difficult to understand when he’s meeting someone for the first time. As I said before, because the media simplifies things, the scale of hearing loss is complex and difficult to understand. As a result, it ends up being that he can either hear or not hear.
Next to the media, they should be aware they are damaging their own system. The same is true with my film this time, its expression will certainly hurt some people but then so does the news, right. It can’t be avoided. So rather than wither away and stop we should be aware it is that kind of business. In other words it is shameful, and the media would de well to remember this.
——So in what way did you want to approach the interview with Samuragochi?
Mori : Approach? Though I think that kind of question is how is the subject confronted by a feeling of distance, answers to such questions are difficult to reach as that distance is not something that can be easily controlled; the distance between family; the distance between friends; and the distance between different sides to Samuragochi’s character; this is not easily described. There are people that say I’m wrong for getting too close but if you get close surely that’s a good thing. I am more of a villain than Samuragochi, but if a scene like this can be shot, I believe it will give and take a sense of intimacy.
© 2016 FAKE production committee
In the film, media professionals, and a large number of foreign journalists visited the home of Mr. Samuragochi. Incidentally, director Tatsuya Mori spoke about image in ‘A’ and ‘A2’ as being a weak point so joined up with the master of cinematography in Japanese documentary filmmaking Yutaka Yamasaki for ‘FAKE’.
Keep on laughing with feeling embarrassed.
——What kind of impression did you get from Samuragochi’s wife?
Mori : What impression did you have?
——How do you say … I felt she has love for Mamoru. If seen in a straightforward manner.
Mori : I think that’s really good.
——Before I was watching a moment on television where he came out of his wife’s parents home insisting “I want to come back quickly”. I wondered if they (his wife) had given up emotionally, but in actual fact the opposite was true …
Mori : In spite of there being a sense of despair, it’s not the type of thing I want to promote so much.
——The moment seemed really important, no?
Mori : When Samuragochi could hear, I said I wonder if they seemed unhappy to everyone else? I must have forgotten when, but when I was there at the very least it was always calm. They are married but it also felt at the same time as if they were like brother and sister.
——I think so too. Seeing as I wasn’t necessarily there to see a happily wed couple, I somehow felt relaxed.
Mori : Indeed, if it had not been for Kaori-san, may have been bankrupt along time ago. That’s a story in itself.
© 2016 FAKE production committee
The timing of Mr. Samuragochi’s pet cat appearing was brilliant, provoking the audience to spontaneously laugh. This adorable and slightly fat little figure strangely overlaps the controversy surrounding Mr. Samuragochi.
——The Samuragochi affair was news and had been talked about in detail. Yet at the time of the preview, even the audience were laughing.
Mori : Laughter is important. ‘A2’ was made with a slight comical way about it, but the same is true this time. However, people don’t just laugh because it is funny. You drop your guard with laughter, and want to laugh when nervous as well. I think the same is true in the theatre. Everyone is quite noisy, and some parts would resonate well with being humorous. Watching ‘FAKE’ and laughing though should be different from watching some sort of comedy sketch. But should they be any different?
——With Japanese cinema, laughter feels like a taboo as if a strange tension.
Mori : Watching films at home alone, I don’t feel the urge to laugh that much. I go to the cinema not just for good sound and a big screen but also for all the people together which I think is really important. That the feeling is amplified and takes root in a shared awareness of other people. So please, keep on laughing with feeling embarrassed!
Venue: Shibuya Eurospace, Roadshow at Jack & Betty (Yokohama), and released subsequently in theatres nationwide.
Schedule: From June 4, 2016 (Saturday)
Also, from June 18th (Saturday) to 24th (Friday), and July 9th (Saturday) to 15th (Friday), the full version of ‘A2’ will be screened daily at Shibuya Eurospace from 21:00. A major work and sequel to Tatsuya Mori’s film ‘A’, the film focuses on Aum Shinrikyo (now Aleph) Public Relations Officer Hiroshi Araki as well as other disciples.