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Exploring the dark and the grotesque

Post the screening of the Japanese film ‘First Love’, director Takashi Miike along with producer Misako Saka addressed the media to shed light on the film. Miike is the Director in Focus at the festival this year. His movies ‘Audition’, ‘’Dead or Alive’ and ‘Ichi the Killer’ were also screened at the festival.

His latest film ‘First Love’ is the story about a young boxer named Leo and a call girl Monica who get caught up in a drug smuggling plot. The film open to European and US audiences in September this year, had its Indian Premiere at the ongoing 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

Speaking about the film, Miike said: “For a long time in the past, there were many movies in Japan where the central theme and the central characters were that of Japanese gangsters, the Yakuza. And quite often they also contained the themes of a love story and were quite sad.” Miike added that for a long time he wanted to make a movie that explored similar themes, and now that he has he hopes it will be enjoyed by discerning audiences.

Saka who has worked as a producer with Miike for 25 years, added: “During this time the type of movies we have made have been very powerful and the level has remained consistent throughout.”

Known for exploring violent and often grotesque subjects, Miike revealed that as a person he is usually very reserved and quiet but his fascination with these aspects of human psyche motivated him to explore these issues in his films. He further clarified that his movies aren’t about evoking a certain response from the audience rather “it is about taking the entire audience through a particular type of journey” – for some it may be enjoyable, for some it won’t. “During the screening of the film ‘Audition’, half of the audience was very stimulated while the other half left and even commented that I was ‘sick’. Among audiences there will be many types of opinions.” he added.

Further, when asked whether his film ‘First Love’ had a specific social message, he shared that the audience can only imbibe a message from a movie based on their own experience.

Since his debut in 1991, Miike has directed over 70 theatrical, video and television productions. In the years 2001 and 2002 alone, he is credited for directing 15 productions. He has also been nominated for the Palme d’Or twice at Cannes. Besides violence, Miike’s films span bizarre, dramatic as well as family-friendly genres.

However he added: “When making a movie it is not meant to be about fitting into a specific genre, it is about how it is delivered to the audience. It is then that this information gets transmitted into a particular genre.”

At present Miike is currently working on a female empowering Japanese TV drama intended for girls between the age group of three to six years.

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