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Winds of Asia “Passerby #3” Interview with Shin Su-won (Director)(10/26)

Winds of Asia “Passerby #3” Interview with Shin Su-won (Director)(10/26)

The heroine of “Passerby #3,” a Korean indie film, is an almost 40-year old housewife with a child, who is also an aspiring film director. The story follows her as she continues to fret about the scenario for her debut feature film. Shin Su-won is no ordinary director to have managed to turn this story into a hilarious, touching and cheerful film. But in real life, she is a calm, petite and slightly bashful woman.
©2010 TIFF

---How far is your own life reflected in the main character, Ji-wan?

I am a homemaker with two children. I left my teaching work in my 30s and went to Korea National University of Arts in 2002. After I graduated, I worked in a film company for a while. I was preparing for a music film before “Passerby #3,” so the scenes in which a band performs in the film are from those days. I have much in common with Ji-wan, but only about a quarter of the story is from my experiences, and the rest are fictional for the film. Ji-wan is also a character I had in mind from the beginning.
However, I also endured the difficulty of making a feature film, just like Ji-wan did. Most of the lines are like my “diary” for the last 10 years.

---The title “Passerby #3” is a keyword in the story. Its cynical implication that a passerby No. 3 is an extra who never plays the leading character flips to have positive meaning in the second half of the story. I understood it as cheer for the women from the “386 generation” who are playing increasingly more important roles in society.

I am one of those from the “386 generation”, but my priority was to console myself (laughs). But that seems to have helped to gain support and sympathy from the women of the same generation, and I am certain this film will cheer up many people who are struggling to balance work and home.

---The female producer bosses Ji-wan around, demanding her to rewrite the scenario to resemble a blockbuster film. She is the villain in this satire of the film industry, but she, too, is portrayed as one of the working women from a kindly viewpoint.

For a director, a producer is a partner as well as someone to confront. I also experienced that my producer didn’t understand me and that I felt bad. I wanted to free myself from such conflicts in this scenario, and wanted to look at it from a higher place.
Producers who work in a huge system of commercial film industry tend to be pushed into being a villain. The producer of “Passerby #3” had a film she wanted to make, but she gets caught up in the system without noticing it. Directors and producers have their own difficulties and worries. Some people were concerned that “Passerby #3” may upset some people in the industry (laughs), but I am relieved that most producers have viewed it favourably.
©2010 TIFF

---In the first half of the story, Ji-wan feels enlightened to see a rainbow reflected on a puddle. After some twists and turns towards the end, she sees another rainbow, this time with her son in the sky, showing a brilliant linkage between the two scenes.

That scene was not in the plan. A real rainbow came up when we were shooting, luckily enough, both characters were on site. We rushed to film them before the rainbow disappeared. We had been very tired in the scorching heat that day, but we were very pleased to have managed it.

---Ji-wan persists on the story of a rock band, and her rebellious son joins a school rock band due to her influence. You are credited to the music, as well as a scrip writer and a producer. Were you a “rock chick”?

The music and performance are by a young band, and to be precise, I should be credited for the selection and production of music. I used to like pop music, but I have become a rock fan as I got older. At this rate, I could be a guitarist in my next life (laugh).
When I was a teacher at a junior high school, there was a boy who was very bright but had become a delinquent because of his family circumstances. When I saw him playing in a band at a school festival, I realised he needed a tool to vent his frustrations. Rock music is a good way to sort out teenage frustrations.

---“Passerby #3” has already won the Grand Prix at the Jeonju International Film Festival this year. What’s your next film?

Investors are reviewing my script at the moment. The theme is music, it is about a youth at a guitar factory.
I have been approached by a major film company to see if I was interested in a “genre film”, but I did not quite understand what they meant (laughs). Regardless how I am involved with films, my priority remains to make a film I would want to watch myself, which is a film to portray a real life.

(Interviewed by: Kosuke Wakaki)

Passerby #3
Film Information

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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)