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Winds of Asia “Five Hours from Paris” Interview with Leon Prudovsky (director) (10/27)

Winds of Asia “Five Hours from Paris” Interview with Leon Prudovsky (director) (10/27)

In Israel, it is said that the immigrants from Russia occupy about 20% of its population. A director, Leon Prudovsky is one of them. He was born in St. Petersburg and moved to Tel Aviv, the capital of Israel, when he was 13 years old. Such background provoked the idea of his first directed movie, “Five Hours from Paris.” a bittersweet love story, depicting a taxi driver who falls in love with a married woman who emigrated from Russia and teaches music.
©2010 TIFF

---Does it affect film making that a director yourself is a Russian immigrant?

Truly great films have no lies in them. In my real experience, I am surrounded by large number of Russian immigrants, so I know everything that what kind of words they use, how they think, and how their skin feel. So, I think they are the best motifs for my film.

---At the beginning, it sounds self-torturous that the main character’s son says that the Russian emigrated teacher is weird.

That is just a small joke. But children can say anything without hesitation because they express all the thing they have thought in their minds. In that point, what they say can never be a lie.
©2010 TIFF

---The main character has such a patient personality. Is that a character of Israelis?

I just created the character. If all of his features are reversed, he becomes a typical Israeli (laughs). Depicting an ordinary man is boring. Don’t you think you want to describe a unique type of person rather than typical one?

--- “Paris” is a metaphoric term in the title, but do you have any special feeling toward that?

French culture is extremely important to me as well. Because French used to be an official language in Russia, I liked to read Dumas and Stendhal when I was little. When the first time I visited Paris, I was 14 and was able to have an experience as if I was living in the worlds of those novels. Something romantic was always linked to France. Since then, I have visited Paris for many times.

---I got an impression that the music and songs are connected to the character’s feeling a lot.

I tried to use the kind of music so that the energies would be brought onto the screen when he sensed something. However, I really didn’t consider the music and the songs deeply. I just put something I felt I want to listen.

---The final decision the main character made has not fully satisfied the audience.

Everyone says the same thing wherever the film is showed (laughs). But if the film makes people feel that way, I may have written an excellent script in a sense. Although a lot of incidents happen to him, what he needs to do the most is to change himself. Looking at his behavior closely, he gradually becomes to do what he did not do at the beginning. The audience may not be satisfied and feel he should do something. But he definitely changes in himself.

--What made you to aspire to be a film director?

I guess my father handed his dream to me. Although my father liked writing, it was impossible for a Jewish person to be an artist. Since I was around 3, he recommended me to write a poem or to do various things, so I worked hard on writing and shooting short films with 8mm, and so on. Ever since I moved to Israel at the age of 13, because of the difference of language, the time just seemed to have passed by going to school. However, when I was 22, for I was found of both writing and picture, I was really interested in films as a media which does not need words. Then, I enrolled in a film school soon.

---Do you have any plans for the next production?

There is one film I want to make next year. The main character will be an Israeli boy who sets out on a journey in search for his missing father. As he meets many people who have various relationships with his father on the way, he comes to picture real figure of his unknown father. His life itself also changes. In fact, two other projects have already been under process. One is a huge project told not to mention yet. The other is a story set in Israeli village and the children there. So I’m collaborating in writing those three scripts. I guess I can keep busy for next six years (laughs).

The director Prudovsky came to Tokyo for the first time. He said that “Because it takes ‘Thirty-five Hours from Tel Aviv,’ I only stayed for four days in one week plan. I felt like I stayed in the airplane in rest of the time” with a bitter smile. We hope he will not get sick of the travel and will come back to Tokyo with his next work.

(Interviewed by Gen Suzuki)

Five Hours from Paris

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KEIRIN.JPThe 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
22nd Tokyo International Film Festival(2009)