Japanese auteur Ryusuke Hamaguchi isn’t slowing down. In 2021, the 45-year-old director launched two options of gorgeous high quality, the anthology drama Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (which received a Silver Bear on the Berlin Movie Pageant) and Drive My Automotive, a shock awards season sensation, which ultimately gave Japan its first Oscar win in 20 years. On the 2023 Venice Movie Pageant, Hamaguchi is again with one more function displaying a completely realized, deeply subtle aesthetic.
Evil Does Not Exist was initiated by Drive My Automotive‘s composer Eiko Ishibashi, who invited Hamaguchi in late 2021 to create some video pictures to accompany a reside musical piece she was writing. Whereas researching that venture within the rural Japanese village the place Ishibashi is from, Hamaguchi grew to become impressed to shoot a extremely formalist function movie in tandem with the video piece. By January, he had a script and filming occurred over February and March. Ishibashi’s compositions function within the completed movie, Evil Does Not Exist, whereas some footage shot in the course of the filmmaking will even accompany her orchestral piece, which can premiere at Belgium’s Movie Fest Ghent in October.
Evil Does Not Exist facilities on a Japanese single father named Takumi and his daughter Hana, who reside in Mizubiki Village, not removed from Tokyo. Like generations earlier than them, they reside a modest life in response to the seasons and order of nature. However at some point, the village inhabitants grow to be conscious of a plan to construct a glamping web site close to Takumi’s home, providing metropolis residents a snug “escape” to nature. When two firm representatives from Tokyo arrive within the village to carry a gathering, it turns into clear that the venture can have a unfavourable impression on the native water provide, inflicting unrest. The company’s mismatched intentions endanger each the ecological stability of the character plateau and their lifestyle, with an aftermath that rattles Takumi’s life.
The Hollywood Reporter related with Hamaguchi in the course of the Venice Movie Pageant for a short chat concerning the intentions behind Evil Does Not Exist — in addition to the which means behind its beguiling title.
I loved this movie so much, however I’m unsure the place to even start with regards to deciphering it. Are there any hints you possibly can supply the viewers in Venice?
Maybe that is very egocentric of me to say, however I believe one of the simplest ways to grasp this movie is that it’s like listening to music. I assume you might say that there are too many meanings and ideas behind the movie for this concept to work. However in the end, it’s actually concerning the characters with the ability to transfer inside nature. It’s extra pleasurable to really simply witness the actions of the characters. It’s a movie that doesn’t give a transparent conclusion. I’m not attempting to make this anyone else’s fault, however I believe that is the results of me being influenced by Aiko Ishibashi’s music.
It’s thrilling to listen to you say that the movie took place by way of a collaboration over music, as a result of I discovered myself so compelled by the way in which music is used all through the movie. It jogged my memory of a few of Jean-Luc Godard’s movies.
I’m a bit of bit embarrassed that you simply’re mentioning this as a result of Godard form of was the widespread language that Aiko and I had whereas making this venture collectively. We each had a number of names that we’d deliver up when it got here to movie music that we favored, and Godard was positively one of many names we had in widespread. His filmmaking in itself appears like a sonic expertise to me. I really feel that it’s music in some methods. So, for this movie, I believe we have been vastly influenced by his work. However I believe this additionally has to do with the character of Aiko’s music. I knew that I didn’t wish to use the music in a really emotional method. She made his extremely stunning theme track however I didn’t wish to simply use it for an emotional climax. I needed there to be form of a shift away from the climax and for the music, too. And I figured by making it not match up so nicely I’d be capable to heighten the sharpness that exists in each the music and the movie.
The way in which the digicam strikes appeared most of all to be about creating a way of place on this rural neighborhood and inside nature. There are monitoring pictures connected to a automotive’s actions and we get a perspective shot from the viewpoint of a wild wasabi plant.
I’ll say to start with that I used to be actually having enjoyable with it — with the way in which the digicam was used. In some methods, I used to be attempting to interrupt away from the digicam actions I had utilized in my prior filmmaking. What I imply by that’s that the digicam exists inside the movie — the way in which the digicam is trying on the characters. This felt very snug to me, as a result of I felt that the digicam’s existence grew to become extra obvious.
Together with your final two movies, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy and Drive My Automotive, your major curiosity appeared to be the character of rehearsal and dramatic efficiency, whereas this movie feels extra about exploring the formal qualities of filmmaking. Is it truthful?
I believe that’s true to an extent. It connects with our dialogue concerning the digicam motion. After all, the human beings are essential to me. However I didn’t wish to simply seize the people which can be current within the story. However I additionally needed to seize the people inside their environments and have the digicam actually seize how they react to one another. So in some sense, I assume that is an train. However I do suppose that the type of filmmaking I did right here can be essential for me for the following decade of my moviemaking.
My first response to the announcement of this movie was, “Wow, what a cool title.” What does “Evil Does Not Exist” imply and the way does it relate to the movie?
Merely put, whereas I used to be doing subject analysis for the script, these phrases simply got here out of me as I used to be trying on the pure panorama and serious about nature. I believe that’s one thing different individuals can in all probability relate to — if you look out at nature, this concept that evil doesn’t exist. However that doesn’t imply that that is the message of the movie in its entirety in any respect. If individuals ask me whether or not that is one thing that I truly suppose to be true, the reply isn’t any, I don’t suppose so in any respect. However I believe it’s vital that I simply by no means felt like altering the title even after I used to be finished with the movie. Once more, one of the simplest ways to form of interpret that is that it’s like a title to a bit of music. You already know, titles to music items don’t essentially have a correlation or a reference to no matter which means is there within the music. That’s the sensation I need individuals to remove with them.