Theundi February 9, at the UGC Ciné Cité les Halles took place the premiere of the film TOKYO FIANCÉE, an adaptation of the book Nor of Eve, nor Adam (2007) of the writer of the belgian Amélie Nothomb. In addition to discover the film well ahead of its release scheduled for march 4, 2015, the public had the chance to meet the team of the film ; the actors Pauline Etienne et Taichi Inoue, director Stefan Liberski, the composer Casimir Liberski and Amélie Nothomb, for the question in particular about their relation to Japan.
Stefan, how is born the idea of transposing the book of Amélie on the screen ?
– Stefan Liberski : I was in Japan in 2004 to film sequences of another movie. There I said to myself that I will come back for a feature film, because it had me enchanted. I know Amy for a long time and one day she sent me her book, Nor of Eve, nor Adam. It was exactly what I needed to tell what I wanted from Japan. I spoke with her and quickly agreed.
– Amélie Nothomb : I have to say that with Stefan it is a long-standing friendship and I have a true admiration for her work. So when he suggested me to adapt, I was thrilled.
Even if it is an adaptation of your work, what you liked in the scenario ?
– A. N. : In fact what is extraordinary is that the scenario is very different from the book. And at the same time, I think that the spirit is the same. But I think if it had been too loyal I would have much embarrassed. The fact that there are so many differences between the book and the movie has done that from the beginning I felt at ease.
Pauline, how have you been chosen for the lead role ? And what motivated you ?
– Pauline Etienne : the easiest way to the cinema, doing a casting. Then my meeting with Stefan has been important. I immediately hung up with this man. I liked the way that he had to tell the story. And then a free trip to Japan that did not refuse ! (laugh)
Before the film, did you have a particular interest in Japan and its culture ?
– P. E. : not necessarily. I discovered Japan thanks to the film. We shot it six weeks there. It is so special as a country. One cannot cling to anything, it is total immersion. Now it is a country that I deeply love. And with this film I hope to make you want to go there because there are a lot of things to discover.
Taichi, as a japanese, what is your view on the film ?
– Taichi Inoue : I’m very moved by the film because there are a lot of coincidences between my life and TOKYO FIANCÉE. The story happens in the period in which I was born, and to Fukushima, where I was born. I feel very connected to the film.
Stefan, watching your film, one has the feeling of seeing Hiroshima, my love – Alain Resnais, but in reverse. You start with a story of love and finish with an explosion.
– S. L. : Exactly. But first, it is the book of Amelie who recalls the film of Resnais. Then there have been events which were not planned : the incident of Fukushima (11 march 2011 following an earthquake, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant exploded).
– A. N. : After this disaster I thought that there was more film. And this is where the genius of Stéphane who has managed to integrate this incident and drama to the film.
– S. L. : We were ready to leave at the time of the events, and to give up. The film was the least of my worries. Subsequently, with the producer, it was delivered on foot, but I couldn’t turn as it was written. I had to watch the Japan otherwise. It was necessary that I speak of this disaster.
You shoot a Japan we rarely see.
– S. L. : I wanted to show the Japan that I have known. Not one of the temples and postcards but a Japan regular. I find that the beauty of the ordinary is very touching.
”Once I give the hand of my child I become a mother-in-law is exemplary.”
Casimir, how do you make your music fits also well to the film. Are you present on the set for example ?
– Casimir Liberski : No, I’ve never been present at the shooting. But I know the Japan for a long time. I started to love it more than ten years, and I have long tried to convince my father to love him also. So for me it flowed from source because the japanese music is something which attracts me a lot. I am inspired by music of japanese movies, but also of all that is asian and oriental.
Amélie, there have already been several adaptations of your novels. You had, I believe, spoke of marriage in this regard.
– A. N. : Yes, it is because I put myself in the situation of the mother-in-law. The director becomes my son-in-law to whom I entrust my child, my book.
As a ” mother-in-law “, what is your involvement ?
– A. N. : I think I will be a mother-in-law very difficult in the beginning. I questioned my son-in-law a lot, I am intractable. But once I give the hand of my child I become a mother-in-law copy. I withdraw from everything and put my trust in him. With all the risks that implies. It can give a very bad movie, it’s already happened, or a very fine film, as here.
How the film should it be completed without the incident of Fukushima ?
– A. N. : As in the novel, in fact, she goes. But finally in the version of Stefan I’m much less evil than in the book, that is to say, in reality, where I’m just saying, I’m going to go back, but I never went back.
Y-a-t-it had concerns in relation to the filming in Japan ?
– S. L. : You should know that it is very complicated negotiations with the japanese. For all of the films on demand permissions. In Japan it is rather simple, but it can last between six months and two years. So we resolved to ask for no permission. This is possible because the japanese are so polite and respectful that nobody would come to ask us if we had an authorization to shoot.
Do you have an anecdote about the filming ?
– P. E. When you see the movie it looks funny to turn Japan, but the scene with the octopus… (laugh) So for this scene I need to put an octopus in my mouth. I was obliged to keep it for a fitting and he was moving really, it was horrible ! I even cried !
– S. L. : for this scene we were shooting in the mountains. As the octopus live in the sea and that it was far enough away we had to get some by Fed Ex in a plastic bucket with a little water. But in spite of that they were still a little soft… (laugh)
TOKYO FIANCÉE to be released in theatres on march 4, 2015
– MEETING WITH The TEAM OF the FILM
– REVIEW : fear and Trembling • Original title : Tokyo Fiancée
• Realization : Stefan Liberski
• Screenplay : Stefan Liberski, based on the work of Amélie Nothomb
• Main actors : Pauline Etienne, Taichi Inoue, Julie Le Breton
• Country of origin : France, Belgium, Canada
• Released : march 4, 2015
• Duration : 1h40min
• Distributor : Eurozoom
• Synopsis : The head full of dreams, Amélie, 20 years, returns to the Japan of his childhood. She offers private classes in French and meets Rinri, her first and only student, a young Japanese man who soon becomes her lover. Through the surprises, joys and disappointments of this culture shock, funny and poetic, we discover a Amélie full of spontaneity and tenderness, which combines the grace of ikebana to the playfulness of a manga character.