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Busan: Kiyoshi Kurosawa Talks ‘Daguerrotype,’ French Challenges

BUSAN — On its third day, the narrative at Busan returned firmly to the films on offer rather than the problems faced by the festival. Unlike the previous two days where the problems took center stage, the meeting for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s gala presentation “Daguerrotype” saw the focus remain firmly on the film.

Moderating the discussion, festival director Kang Soo-youn said, “Of all the gala presentations this is the most ambitious one.”

The film deals with an obsessive photographer who works with the 19th century Daguerrotype technology to shoot portraits, and his daughter’s burgeoning relationship with his new assistant.

The film is a France/Belgium/Japan co-production and is presented in French.

“For the first time I had the experience of making a film outside Japan,” said Kurosawa. Making a French film at my age refreshed me. It is the first film of my second career.”

Making a film in an unknown culture and language presented multiple challenges.  “I’m not French, so I was not able to convey modern French society in my film. I thought I’ll be truthful to my film rather than convey other cultural backgrounds. I grew up watching world cinema so I thought making true cinema is how I can approach a French audience,” said Kurosawa.

“I cannot speak French, so I had interpreters in my crew. My crew and my actors were French so, I couldn’t communicate with them, but they behaved like in Japan. When I asked them something, they immediately knew what I wanted. I realized during the shoot that cinema is an international language and I was really surprised by this. I don’t know whether it was because it was France I had this good experience. It may be have been a different experience if it was Hollywood,” Kurosawa added.

Kurosawa said that in today’s age of digital videos and smart phones, the audiences expect to be astonished every time they visit a cinema. “I don’t know how long cinema will survive, but Daguerrotype is still around. It is a metaphor for cinema today,” he said.

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