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“0.5mm” director Momoko Ando: Sakura is the root of my imagination


©2015 TIFF

Director Momoko Ando, eldest daughter of actor Eiji Okuda, and her younger sister Sakura Ando, have teamed up for the first time for the film 0.5㎜, screened on October 23 as part of the Japan Now section at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival. The sisters revealed more about the film and their relationship in a Q&A at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Piccadilly.
The film is based on director Ando’s own novel about her experience of nursing. When asked at what point she imagined the book as a film, she said, “I had some idea even while I was still writing the novel. Whenever I’m writing, I always have a film in my head. This time, I felt the urge to make the story into a novel, then again into a film.” Hearing this, Sakura pointed out, “But it also doesn’t feel like a film.” The actress elaborated, to the agreement of her sister, “It feels like we as sisters have this world we’re imagining, and we’re making it into a book or a film.”
“While I was still writing the novel, I had imagined Sakura in the role of the protagonist, Sawa Yamagishi,” Ando explained. When asked by the moderator if she had ever created any other characters with Sakura in mind, Ando revealed how she sees her sister as her muse. “Not just with this piece, but with all of my work I have Sakura Ando in my mind. Something like a doll, when I move Sakura around in my mind the power of my imagination becomes limitless. She’s the best, most lovely doll.”
Ando continued, “When I begin making a film, I don’t box Sakura into being a doll.” She smiled widely, explaining of the influence ‘Actress Sakura Ando’ has on her work. “When I’m working together with someone who gives drive to my vision, it gives birth to limitless possibilities. In that sense, Sakura is also the best.” Sakura, who had been nodding in agreement to her older sister’s words, spoke with deep emotion. “My sister has been watching me ever since I was born, so of course she was the one to bring out everything I had inside. To have her write that as a novel for me is really incredible.”
The film paints the story of Sawa Yamagishi, who volunteers as an “uninvited helper” after finding elderly people living in difficult circumstances. The 28th Tokyo International Film Festival continues through October 31 at the main event space in Roppongi Hills, Shinjuku WALD9, Shinjuku Piccadilly, and TOHO CINEMAS Shinjuku.

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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)