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Interview with Neil Jordan (Director/The President of Jury for the Competition Section) (10/31)

Mr. Neil Jordan (the director) who performed the role of the President of Jury for the Competition Section which is a glamour of the Tokyo International Film Festival. This would be his second visit since the screening of his film, “The Company of the Wolves”
at the 1st Tokyo International Film Festival and this time assuming an important responsibility of the President of Jury. He shows the grin of embarrassment as he turns around and says, “Yeah it’s a hard work!” He showed the glimpse of unwavering confidence, after emphasizing the fact that they’ve carried out the thorough debate in choosing the “Intimate Grammar” as Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix Winner.
©2010 TIFF

Q: Please let us know your impression of serving the President of the Jury for the International Film Festival?

NJ: I never really thought of entering my films in the film festival circuit . I’ve always been just too busy to explore the idea. I’ve worked in Hollywood big movies and worked in the small budget movies as well. Some of the small movies I made became very popular and some didn’t. But I’m not a kind of director that has lived through the film festivals, do you understand? This is why when you asked me to be the chairman of the Tokyo International Film Festival, I contemplated on it and answered yes. I’ wanted to do this because I wanted to spend some time at the film festival and what place is better than the Tokyo International Film Festival. I was here back in 1985 with my film called “The Company of the Wolves.” I’ve been here in Tokyo again but I haven’t been here in the film festival since then. It’s really been a hard work!

Q: Was there any particular focus, any criteria or specific theme that emerged in the movies for judging the 15 films from the Competition Section?

NJ: From the 98 years old Kaneto Shindo, who directed many films in the past to the two young Italian directors, (Matteo Botrugno and Daniele Coluccini) who have made their first feature film for the first time. What to me that was very heart warming was the scope of the directors on the display at the Competition Section, you know. There were extraordinary scopes to the films that we viewed for judging..
©2010 TIFF

Q: During the nine days of the film festival, were there lot of times where actually the jury members would get together and exchange notes or opinions?

There were many, times we’ve spent together for lunch and dinner that it was difficult for me to find out if we were judging the cuisine or the movies. We were trying to refresh after every three or four films so to make sure that nothing is going to be over-looked.

Q: Did the selection of the award-winning film go well?

We watched 15 movies and after having seeing all the 15, it was very clear that four or five films really did have an impact on us. Some of the films only had an impact on one or two jury members, but the other four or five films actually did give all of the jury members an impact which was based on the film’s strength of the performance and sensibility of the directors. There were three movies which were so strong that we needed to discuss about it. That was very hard for me because I’m a film maker and there were two other film makers (Hur Jin-ho and Kichitaro Negishi) who were also in the jury as well, I was looking at these films and realized that the other people watched my movies with the same critical eyes, such as, “I loved it up to here but why did the film become weak from the later half?”

Q: With all the discussions you must have all had, what was the decisive reason to make “Intimate Grammar” the Sakura Grand Prix Winner?

I have not seen the Nir Bergman’s (director) work before. I was so much in admiration for the director’s natural talent. I was watching the film as it was going forward, I was thinking when this film would start go wrong. And I was kind of trying to keep this strength of storytelling up.. In the last third of the way, the film got little weak. I thought that the strength of the film was going to get lost. But then suddenly there was an ending to it. So I just had to make a say in the end whether which of the film was greatest of all, a really good film, which was the most completely realized piece of work. Perhaps other film would have been more successful with the audience in general. But I thought that in terms of the realization this was the best one.
©2010 TIFF
Q: You mentioned that when you were 16, you saw Mr. Kaneto Shindo’s film and this had a great impact on you, is that right?

I saw the film, “Onibaba” and “Lost Sex” in the theater in Dublin. There were quite an impact watching these films.

Q: It must have been a pleasant surprise and a good expectation for you to realize that one of the film in the Competition Section was the work by Mr.Kaneto Shindo’s.?

Yes. Delightful. But I was very anxious if I would like the film, do you understand? That the film would rise to it’s expectations. And it did. It was a very beautiful film. Mr. Shindo and I had an opportunity to speak briefly on the stage.

Q: Now that you’ve actually finished the very big role for the Tokyo International Film Festival as a President of Jury, do you think this experience that you‘ve had here in Japan would become a good influence for you, for something such as your future project?

Yeah, certainly, it definitely made me more critical of my own work. Next time when I finish the script, I’ll examine it like I’m all the five members of Jury.

We heard that you are currently editing your new film. When it is completed, we hope you would be able to screen it at the Tokyo International Film Festival next year.

©2010 TIFF

With fatigue and relief of being able to fulfill the heavy responsibility, Mr. Jordan revealed an expression of accomplishment.

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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)