[ENTERTAINMENT]High-wire filmmaking without a net

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[ENTERTAINMENT]High-wire filmmaking without a net

Hong Sang-soo's new movie "Discovering Daily Life" is generating a buzz because he began shooting it without a set screenplay.

But to the Japanese director Nobuhiro Suwa, 41, in Korea recently for the Gwangju International Film Festival, this peculiar method has been his standard way of doing things since his debut film. Suwa's three movies, all filmed in this spontaneous way, have earned him much praise and many awards from all around the world.

"2 Duo" (1997) received an award for best new director in the Locarno International Film Festival. His other movies, "M/Other" (1999) and "H Story" (2001), were both invited to and featured in the Cannes Film Festival, with the latter making a sensation with the film critics for opening up new horizons in movies.

"The reason I am not uptight about having the complete lines and a set screenplay," Suwa says, "is to drag vivid performances from the actors on the spot. Only the basic concept, the situation and the place where the actors are, is given to the actors, and the movie just starts from there, with the cast spontaneously getting into it on the spot. The story will be written and led by the actors themselves."

He said that when he was making documentaries, he began to feel the limits of the genre: "The thing about interviewing people is that it is nearly impossible to reveal someone's inner emotions when a camera is in front of them. Of course, there are precious moments when truth is captured, like the moments when the interviewees are overcome by their feelings and burst into tears. At that point the cameraman will feel grateful and lucky. But what about people who have uncovered their feelings? Knowing that their emotions lay naked for the camera leaves them feeling empty and lonely."

That is why he switched to fiction. He has also come to understand the meaning of Jean-Luc Godard's saying that "Movies are not a reflection of reality, but the reality of reflection."

"I am content when actors are fully immersed in their roles and their emotions start to arouse each other, directing the movie to where no one has intended or expected. At such moments, actors will unconsciously reveal their inner selves. This is different from how an interviewed person acts in front of a camera. The actors neither feel left out nor deserted; their acting will unfold naturally without pretense."

This filmmaker's movies are all motivated and driven by the cast's acting rather than the power of directing.

"I am not interested in expressing myself. In high school, I told my father, who was a big movie fan, that I wanted to be a director. But he cut me off, saying that I'd never make it because I lack idiosyncrasy.

"Perhaps because of that I have always been more interested in what's going on between others rather than what's within me. I enjoy the cooperation built with the staff when shooting a film. The movie becomes more prosperous when you work together."

by Lee Young ki

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