STARRING Yuki Sakurai and Miku Komatsu, A Crimson Star is the tale of two lonely and damaged young women who form a complex bond.
To preview A Crimson Star ahead of its world premiere at Raindance Film Festival (27 and 29 September), Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge had a brief chat with director Aya Igashi.
Q: What were your influences for the film?
A: SHINJI Iwai’s film A Bride for Rip Van Winkle was the influence for my film. In the film, character A is character B’s one of A kind and so is B. When my boyfriend at that time and I were discussing their relationship, I realised that we were not even close to that kind of a relationship, although I really liked him. This realisation developed my story.
Q: Can you share some of the themes of the film and what you hope audiences will come away from the film thinking about?
A: THE theme of this film is about the nature of relationships between people who are involved with each other, but are without any deep connection. However, they have not given up on their relationship and still holding on to hope.
I am not looking for any specific reactions from my audience and would like to leave that up to them. This is just an ordinary story about a relationship between a girl and a woman.
Q: I have heard the film deals in unspoken truths and minimalist dialogue. How did you help Yuki Sakurai and Miku Komatsu to work with less dialogue? And what qualities did they bring to the project?
A: FOR Yuki Sakurai, I did not give many pointers on set. Before shooting the movie, she told me about her own past and we used it to further develop the story. I also asked her to read the book Lust and Other Stories by Minot Susan, as well as a few other books. On set I let her portray her idea of who Yayoi is – and she did a great job .
For Miku, I gave her detailed instructions on physical and emotional movements for each scene. I even asked Yuki to kiss Miku on their day off to help Miku to bring out her emotions.
Q: The film has been described as having melancholic long shots. Can you talk about the visual style you wanted for the film?
A: I believe the lack of visible facial expressions can be complemented with our imagination. I put a lot of effort and emphasis on the scenes with long shots and I want to portray the atmosphere of the scene.
Q: What is the current landscape of avant-garde Japanese cinema, particularly for the female filmmaker?
A: THE number of young female movie directors is increasing, and previously unseen values and forms of presentations are stating to appear. But it is still a harsh environment for them due to the continuing problem of low budgets and a lack of opportunities.
Q: What is next for you? Do you have any projects lined up?
A: I shot a part of an omnibus movie, titled 21st Century Girl, which is created by a group of young female movie directors.