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Friday, April 24, 2009

Brief visit at Toho Studios, and foreshadowing Tsuyoshi Kusanagi's arrest

So yes, I've totally buried myself into the post-production of my film, KINGYO, in the past week, managing to find my stride again, rediscovering the excitement I had for the project through editing (hate to find that spark when you were separated from it for so long!), experimenting more with the possibilities of split screens.

Being a production bigger than initially expected (well, my Japanese team thought it was quite a small project, but to me, it's huge) the post-production of KINGYO is much more complicated than any of my previous works. Aside from the complexities of editing a film shot simultaneously with two cameras, we also had our sound engineer guy, Torigoe, to do the sound mixing. And at the same time, I'm also seeking Slavek Kowalewski's help for the music (samples of his works here, good stuff).

Now, back to the sound mixing... since extensive work has to be done, we are supposed to be going to Toho Studios to do it! (Apparently my uni lab has our own personal editing room there...) Yesterday morning, Maiko the Producer brought Torigoe the sound guy and I to the place so that he could have a look at the facilities in the lab needed for him to work his magic.

Maiko and I took the train there first and waited for Torigoe at a Starbucks nearby. Somehow as we chatted, our conversation veered towards the 2002 film YOMIGAERI, a well-regarded film that I wasn't too fond of. Maiko was also non-fan, saying that the film was really just a star vehicle for SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi.

But then, she conceded that Kusanagi was probably the best, or most versatile actor in the group, and had the nicest off-screen persona. I didn't really like Kusanagi's foray in big-budget blockbusters (JAPAN SINKS! comes to mind), though I was really impressed by his performance in the 2004 J-dorama, Boku to kanojo to kanojo no ikiru michi (僕と彼女と彼女の生きる道).

Anyway, Torigoe came, and we then headed to the Toho Studios. I was more than a little excited when I was there. Especially when I saw this on the wall of a building:

Building wall at Toho studio

And there's even a statue of Godzilla too.

Godzilla statue at Toho studio

We then went to check out the editing room, to make sure everything's fine when we start to do our sound mixing over the weekend. Here's a blurry pic I took.

Editing room in Toho studio

Later Torigoe went online and checked the news, then he exclaimed something in Japanese.

Maiko also exclaimed something in Japanese. They both seemed excited.

"What? What's going on?" I asked.

"Kusanagi Tsuyoshi just got arrested!" Maiko said.

... for public display of loud drunken nudity.

Such a big deal that it's national news, and Fuji TV even built a model of the neighbourhood around the park where he got arrested.

Already, the guy's being dropped off from commercials, TV appearances etc. This is as bad as the Edison Chen photo scandal... considering the consequences that Kusanagi's facing now in the wake of his arrest, I wonder what would really happened to Edison Chen if he's Japanese.

There was a shot in my film, KINGYO, where the two main characters walk past a huge poster of SMAP in Akihabara. It was suggested to me that the shot should be removed for fear of copyright infringement. Although I was slightly bemused, I did it anyway since that 5 second shot didn't really add much to the story and wouldn't really be a 'major compromise of my artistic integrity' (haha). Actually, I shortened the shot instead of removing it completely, cutting it right when the corner of that poster is shown, sign of my own rebellion and cheekiness. What a pity though, come to think of it now, that shot in my film would have been a perfect encapsulation of a particular moment in time (... when things were still all right for Kusanagi).