I was privlidged to speak with the legendary Testsuya Nakashima; Director of Confessions, Kamikaze Girls and Memories of Matsuko, just before his first UK screening of The World of Kanako. Together we discussed Lolita fashion, characters with problems and different styles of directing.
Many of your films are based around novels, how do you go about taking this text and bringing it to the screen?
When adapting a novel, I literally pick up something I like and take it to the distributor. Once I get the GO sign I can then take the first approaches into making it reality.
Are there any books that you would like to see turned into a film?
There are a few….but I am not going to tell you (laughing with a twinkle in his eye)
How does it feel having your films distributed not only in Japan but in the UK?
I really don’t know how to feel, except it makes me so happy that others enjoy my movies around the world.
Your films often centre on strong ‘outsider’ female types. Do you find this appealing to direct?
I never like to cast likeable, lovable characters as these do not interest me. I am attracted to problematic characters who make mistakes.
Out of all the films you have worked on do you have a favourite character or one you can relate to the most?
I love them all, I can’t choose. You see, when directing a movie you have to emphasise with all the characters and understand every single one. I couldn’t just pick one. Saying this, I do like Matsuko’s character…
In Kamikaze Girls, fashion is a contributing part of to the story especially Lolita. Did you know much about the fashion before filming?
I didn’t even know the existence. I did a lot of research. When I first screened the movie in Japan many of the audience was dressed in Lolita fashion – I was so surprised! I still feel so displaced by it, even though I made the film!
For those yet to see it, how does The World of Kanako differ to your previous work?
Compared to Confessions, I think everything is different. Confessions had a very calm tone and blue dark hues. Where as The Word of Kanako is high tension, colourful and lots of energy. My whole approach to directing was different as well. In Confessions I directed every detail, every movement. In The World of Kanako I let the actors loose and do what they wanted! I encouraged and guided them to become this.
Have you ever cosplayed?
No, but I have worked with a number of people who have and always found them to be very interesting.
Can you reveal any future projects?Nothing has been decided yet. I want to do something completely different from all the blood movies out there at the moment – maybe some sci-fi!
You can buy Confessions, Kamikaze Girls and Memories of Metsuko on the ThirdWindowFilms website
There are still a few tickets left to special screenings of The World of Kanako at the British Film Festival (BFI) available here