By Makoto Tanaka / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterVeteran film director Yasuo Furuhata and cinematographer Daisaku Kimura, a pair who have given life to many excellent works such as “Poppoya” (Railroad Man), have teamed up again after nine years for the film “Tsuioku” (Reminiscence), which was released last week.
Their personalities are polar opposites. If Furuhata, 82, represents calm, then Kimura, 77, is energy personified. Yet they have great chemistry.
The film tells the story of three childhood friends who are reunited after 25 years as a police detective, a suspect and the victim in a murder case.
“People live their lives trapped in the past,” Furuhata said. “Some people try to escape it, while others try to accept it. That’s life, I suppose.”
One scene in the film shows an impressive sunset on the sea. It was Kimura who suggested to the director that they shoot the film on the Noto Peninsula and its surrounding areas in the Hokuriku region.
“When I said, ‘[You need] the sea and the sun, right?’ he replied, ‘I do,’” Kimura said. “I’ve been to all 47 prefectures in the country, and I thought [Hokuriku] would best suit this film.”
“Tsuioku” is the 16th film on which Furuhata and Kimura have worked together, with 1981’s “Eki: STATION” as their first collaboration. Most of their past films starred Ken Takakura, who died in 2014, but in their latest movie, the two worked with younger actors, led by Junichi Okada, Shun Oguri and Tasuku Emoto.
“I guess they were feeling the pressure,” Kimura said. “I’m an outgoing, partying type of guy, so I coaxed the young actors into loosening up a bit.”
The cinematographer was impressed with the actors and how they concentrated on the film even when the cameras weren’t rolling. He heaped praise on Okada in particular.
“I think he’s following in the footsteps of Ken-san,” Kimura said.
One of the film’s highlights is a scene where Okada, playing the detective, heatedly argues with Oguri, the suspect. Furuhata said he entrusted the two actors to do the scene however they wanted, with consideration for the storyline up to that point.
“The script is like a table that only becomes a proper table when flowers are put on it that begin to bloom,” the director said. “I think the script can only be improved through its interaction with the people who film a movie, and its interaction with the people who act it out.”
Kimura seemed impressed by Furuhata’s words, adding: “That’s the way Team Furuhata makes a film. The finished product is nothing except a Furuhata film.”
Furuhata asked Kimura to work on the film. “Because he told me he wasn’t doing anything,” the director said.
“Well, I wouldn’t have said ‘yes’ if it wasn’t your film,” said Kimura, who has also directed films such as “Tsurugidake: Ten no Ki” (Mt. Tsurugidake).
Although Furuhata and Kimura didn’t work together for many years, the pair understand each other so well they don’t need words.
“If I read the script, I can immediately understand what Furuhata-san wants to do,” Kimura said. “It then comes down to how I make the most of the scenes with my images. Asking him how to shoot each scene is not essential.”
Furuhata said he didn’t bother to explain the film’s theme to his cinematographer.
“It’s best if we can understand each other without saying it in words,” the director said. “This film is not a very happy story, but our filming was,” he recalled with a serene expression.