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From “dregs of information about the role” to Director Nobuhiro Yamashita falls head over heels for Subaru Shibutani’s voice, “pretty much a natural”


©2015 TIFF

La La La at Rock Bottom starring Kanjani Eight’s Subaru Shibutani was screened on October 24 in the newly created section Japan Now at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival. Director Nobuhiro Yamashita and producer Shinji Ogawa participated in a teach-in after the screening.

Director Yamashita, graduate of the Osaka University of Arts, decided to make a music movie set in Osaka, as the film was designed for Shibutani’s performance. “I have a lot of personal feelings towards Osaka, yet there are a lot of directors making interesting films set in Osaka, like Junji Sakamoto and Kazuyuki Izutsu, who are from the Kansai region (of which Osaka is a part). I used to feel really uncomfortable with the idea, but it’s been 10 years since I’ve moved to Tokyo, and now I can look at it more objectively. It was a good timing.” Yamashita developed the location and original story in the area where he used to live.

It is the story of a man who has lost all of his memory apart from songs, and how he tries to find himself with the help of a heroin, Kasumi (Fumi Nikaido) who runs a music studio. Yamashita says that “of course you can’t hear the songs in the script, so while I was in the preparation stages, to me, the film was about Kasumi.” All the drama was centered on Kasumi, and there was only dregs of information about Shibutani’s role”, he said with a bitter laugh.

However, on the day filming started and he heard him sing, his impressions changed- “he was convincing. Different to the first image I had of him.” He modified the course of the film as shooting progressed. Even on the last day of filming, they changed to Shibutani smiling after he had finished singing in editing. “He had been performing the role for a month, and I told him to do what felt right to him. There’s no performance in it, and I didn’t tell him to do it. The natural smile he gave was perfect, so I didn’t shoot anything else” he said, praising Shibutani.

A DVD of the film has already been released, however Yamashita, about his first film since Linda Linda Linda, says that “I made this film placing great importance on the music, and I think people should see it on the big screen. That would make me happy. Thank you very much”, he said to the audience.

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KEIRIN.JPThe 28th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
27th Tokyo International Film Festival(2014)