• 7 May 2022

Feelings above everything else: a meeting with Yukiko Mishima

Among the special guests of the second day at the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival there was the film director Yukiko Mishima, one of the most interesting female artists emerged in the japanese cinematographic overview of the new millennial, who has already been the protagonist of the Festival’s pre-opening on Tuesday, with the screening of Shape of Red.

Interviewed for the occasion by the Festival’s executive director Roberta Novielli, the japanese filmmaker explained her unconditional love for cinema, which she considers the most effective medium that allows her to recount the things in which she is most passionate about: the daily stories of human beings. “Human feelings are what I find most interesting” : this was the answer she gave to explain the great variety of shadings of the protagonists of her works, who are mostly women. “The woman is a diverse being, there are many kind of women, but all these varieties can coexist also in just one woman” . The dialogue continued with a talk about the reasons that lead the creative process of the film director, throughout an analysis of some of the main characters of her movies. Mishima explained that this passion and curiosity in knowing deeply the essence of her characters was born when she began working for the NHK (Japanese National Television), particularly in the documentaries field. “Since then, I have realized that what I am most interested in is understanding what people actually do in their daily life” : in order to have a complete vision of the characters and be able to acknowledge them completely, not only is necessary to be aware of their present, but of their past and future too. Moreover, the director points out that the same concept should also apply to the staff: when people meet each other on set, communication is a very important key, and this goal can be reached by asking questions about daily life in order to really get to know each other.

The dialogue goes on with an in-depth talk about food and its connection with feelings, recurring topic in her works and, in general, it’s a trend in Japanese (but not only) cinematography. Mishima talked about how food is a crucial topic for her: offering food is an act of love, just like the relationship of one with food allows the spectator to understand the background of the character himself. Once again, it’s all about a mechanism to connect on a deep level and know the character.

The program devoted to the director also represented the occasion to watch one of her latest works, Ode to Joy, adapted from DIVOC-12, an anthological movie composed by 12 short films by 12 different directors, produced with the aim of supporting directors, actors, production staff and the whole cinematographic branch in all the difficulties that arose because of the pandemic. In Ode to Joy, some of the crucial subjects of her production intertwine: feelings, relationship with food, loneliness, difficulty of living but also hope, all condensed in the story of a woman that somehow finds a form of love, “because in such a difficult moment, finding each other is important for both characters”. At the end of our meeting, the director invited the spectators to a special appointment that will take place on May 18th at Casa del Cinema in Venice, that will project her many-awarded movie Dear Etranger.