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Masato Harada comes full circle with “Chronicle of My Mother” and recollections of his own mother

Chronicle of My Mother

©2015 TIFF

“Director in Focus: Masato Harada” special screening, part of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival’s Japan Now section, continued on October 26 with the director’s 2012 film, Chronicle of My Mother. Director Harada and actress Kiki Kirin were in attendance for a teach-in about the film.
The film is based on the three-part autobiographical novel of the same name by author Yasushi Inoue. Actors Koji Yakusho, Kiki, and Aoi Miyazaki bring to life 10 years of a family’s love and drama in a work that captured the Special Grand Prix of the Jury award at the 35th Montreal World Film Festival. Kiki also won Best Supporting Actress at the 36th Japanese Academy for her role in the film.
When asked for more details about the production of the film, Harada revealed, “My mother’s love of film is what opened my eyes to the world of movies. My first memory of seeing a film with my mother was when I was five. I was brought to see Fred Zinnemann’s The Search which was a story of a boy searching for his mother. Of this film, which portrays the love between a mother and her children, he said, “At last, I’ve come full circle back to that original film with ‘Chronicle of My Mother’. I wasn’t able to have my own mother go see it at the cinema, but she saw it at home on DVD and had some things to say about it,” he smiled.
An audience member asked, “What film does your mother like the most?” Harada replied, “My mother loved Gregory Peck. She told me that she was watching Peck’s The Yearling (1946) when she was pregnant with me and began to feel labour pains. I was punching her stomach and trying to tell her, ‘Hurry up and let me see the movie!’” He continued, “My mother was into the actors. She wanted to see Isao Kimura in Seven Samurai, so she used me as an excuse to get into the shoot when they were filming in Gotemba. I remember well being afraid of the way the mountain bandits moved.”
Because Kiki had to make regular visits to a hospital in Kyushu, there weren’t any backup days scheduled for production. Filming was completed on March 10, 2011 in Numazu, Shizuoka. Had the schedule been delayed, they would have been affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred the next day. Kiki recalled, “After packing up all the equipment, they returned to the filming site, and that’s when the earthquake struck. Had the disaster affected where we were shooting, who knows how much it might have cost for things like accommodation.” Harada continued, “It was really a terrible situation. It was a miracle—we were able to start editing on the 11th, and it was all thanks to Kiki.”

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