Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Six Questions for... Masahiro Kobayashi

Masahiro Kobayashi (born in Tokyo in 1954) is one of the most successful Japanese filmmakers on the international festival circuit. His film "The Rebirth", which follows the lives of two people shattered by the murder of a school girl, took home three awards at the 2007 Locarno Film Festival -- a C.I.C.A.E. Award - Special Mention, a Youth Jury Award - Special Mention and most importantly the Locarno's top prize, The Golden Leopard. His best known film in North America, "Bashing", the portrait of a shunned foreign aid worker returning to Japan after being held hostage in Iraq, was entered into competition at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and would win the Grand Prix at that year's Tokyo Filmex. Before the accolades and awards though Kobayashi was a singer-songwriter who parlayed his writing talents into penning screenplays for television and pink films. 1996 would see him release his directorial debut, "Closing Time", and in the years that followed he would work with such well known talents as Akira Emoto (Kaizokuban Bootleg Film) and Ken Ogata (Man Walking on Snow). Most recently Kobayashi directed legendary actor Tatsuya Nakadai in the road movie drama "Haru's Journey". We were honoured to have such an esteemed filmmaker as Masahiro Kobayashi participate in our ongoing "Six Questions for..." director's survey. CM

1. What movie inspired you to become a film-maker? What was it about the movie that was inspiring?

François Truffaut’s films, especially “Breathless” [written by Truffaut and directed by Jean-Luc Goddard]. The script, the acting… some of the shots and performances are miraculous.

2. Is there someone you always wanted to work with on a project, but have never had the chance?

Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson and director Cédric Kahn.

3. Please finish this statement: If I had not become a film-maker I would probably be a ________.
A clownish, small-time con man.

4. Which three people (besides film-makers) have had the biggest influence on you?

My father, mother and film critic Koichi Yamada.

5. What is your favorite book? Why is it your favorite?

My favorite as a teenager was “The Wayfarer (Kojin)” by Soseki Natsume. As an older man, it’s “Islands in the Stream” by Ernest Hemingway.

6. What moment in your career has made you most proud so far?

I have not had one yet.

Translation by Chikako Hirao Evans

Check out Masahiro Kobayashi's official blog here

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