-Who is Takaaki Watanabe?
Sometimes he is a Japanese film maker, sometimes a university employee, sometimes a common husband celebrating anniversaries, and sometimes a kind father of two young children. In short, he is one man everywhere.
-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
When I was a student, I saw Federico Fellini’s “La Strada”. It was a wonderful cinematic experience. It was my first exposure to the magic of cinema. It was the moment I first became aware of filmmakers.
-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?
I think that today’s films have become content and their influence has diminished. However, I believe that films can be a “place” for people.
Films can empower you by being there for you. Then we may be able to create a healthy world.
-What would you change in the world?
I want a world without war. Japan is the only nation to have been hit by nuclear bombs.
Japanese people must always show their strong will to oppose war.
-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?
I am particularly concerned about Japanese films. The current situation in the Japanese film industry is very bad. Poor working environment, power harassment, sexual harassment…
Film actors are an endangered species, major films are not being made, there is a continuing labor shortage because people cannot make money from films, and the number of mini-theaters with artistic programming is decreasing.
Unfortunately, the film industry in Japan is no longer in the shape it once was. It is no longer possible to produce directors like Ozu, Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and Naruse.
Numerous films are still being made, but most of them are low-budget. To begin with, the government lacks understanding of the arts. There is little environment for young people to grow up. If this situation continues, 100 years from now, Japanese cinema may perish. We must prevent that from happening.