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New Trends in Japanese Documentary An exclusive interview with Fujiwara Toshifumi via Sonatine

I’ve watched a couple of documentaries dealing with the disaster that hit Japan on March 11th, but in my opinion, your work stands apart from them. I think you adopted a broader perspective. Among other things, I felt No Man’s Zone was a visual essay on the impact that images of destruction have on our society.

Yes, you’re right but obviously it was something that was inside me from before the disaster and grew up over the years.

It was also like watching two documentaries, one with the row images and interviews from the area hit by the tragedy, the other one more reflective, with the narration and the editing giving a philosophical frame.

We’ve tried to create two separate layers very deliberately. One of the reasons is that it is a French-Japanese co-production. The cameraman and director are Japanese, and the editor is French…so why not have two layers to incorporate a certain distance within the contest. Originally, we thought of a French voice and the narration was different from the final one. It was more like a fictional story. The idea was that of a French woman and a Japanese director corresponding through the Internet. We collaborated with some French writers, but they didn’t get the right ideas because it was also supposed to be quite critical of the French culture itself. It turned into something rather awfully colonialist. So it didn’t work and I rewrote the whole narration.

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