Every year at CAMERA JAPAN, we take our Japanese guests on a tour of Rotterdam. This year actress MIEDA Natsuki and director NAGAYAMA Tadashi, who came to our festival to promote their independent comedy Being Natural, joined OISHI Maki for a tour of the highlights of the city while at the same discussing their experiences at the festival.
“The tour was a lot of fun,” says director NAGAYAMA Tadashi. “We saw a lot of historic and fascinating places, like the Cube Houses. What is very interesting to me about Rotterdam, is that wherever you walk in the city, you always kind of bump into history and see traces of the 1940 bombardment. You can feel the history of Rotterdam everywhere. In Japan, you usually don’t see negative traces of history. Here, it is always included.”
Actress MIEDA Natsuki adds: “What impressed me as well, is how nice everyone is in Rotterdam. People are really friendly. For example yesterday, when I was lost in the metro, four people came to help me, even before I asked them.”
The visit to CAMERA JAPAN is their first time to attend a screening of their film at a festival in Europe. NAGAYAMA: “Before the first screening I was kind of anxious, wondering how many people would show up. But when I saw how many people came to see our film, I was really happy.”
Watching the film together with the audience was a special experience for the duo. MIEDA: “In Japan, people are more shy about expressing their emotions when they see a movie. They don’t laugh that much. But here, people are more honest in their reactions: when they feel it’s funny, they laugh. If they feel it’s sad, they also react. That is really interesting.”
NAGAYAMA adds: “After a film screening in Japan, people basically don’t ask questions. But here, people who ask questions have thought really deeply about the film. And they all express a different idea or thought.”
Importance of international film festivals
Standing in front of LantarenVenster after walking for two hours through the city, we ask how they feel about Japanese film festivals being organised in places like Rotterdam. NAGAYAMA: “I think it’s really important. I also feel there is potential for more festivals like CAMERA JAPAN. It’s good for Japanese cinema to have these festivals, because normally in Japan, films are only being made with the Japanese audience in mind, and with famous actors in the lead roles. There isn’t much attention on the outside world, but I think it’s really important for Japanese filmmakers to expand their view. And film festivals like these can help with that.”
After CAMERA JAPAN, Being Natural will travel onwards to England, where it will be shown at the Leeds International Film Festival (1-15 November 2018). For more information about the film, check out our event page.