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- Movie: Life Back Then
- Romaji: Antoki no Inochi
- Japanese: アントキノイノチ
- Director: Takahisa Zeze
- Writer: Masashi Sada (original story), Sachiko Tanaka, Takahisa Zeze
- Producer: Takashi Hirano, Atsuyuki Shimoda
- Cinematographer: Atsuhiro Nabeshima
- World Premiere: August 18, 2011 (Montreal World Film Festival)
- Release Date: November 19, 2011
- Runtime: 131 min.
- Genre: Drama
- Distributor: Shochiku
- Language: Japanese
- Country: Japan
Kyohei Nagashima (Masaki Okada) has shut away the world. During his high school days he was the target of bullying and experienced horrifying moments. Now as a young adult Kyohei takes a new job. He works for a company that specializes in cleaning out the homes of recently deceased individuals.
With his new job Kyohei meets co-worker Yuki (Nana Eikura). Yuki has also experienced a traumatizing event as a teen and has also shut herself away from the world. These two young people form a bond as they go through the homes of the recently departed people. They gradually open up to each other and in the process to the world. Yet, their fragile psyches may or may not be ready for such changes ...
- Based on novel "Antoki no Inochi" by Masashi Sada (first published May 19, 2009 by Gentosha Inc.).
Additional Cast Members:
Q&A with dir. Takahisa Zeze & actor Masaki Okada
Q&A for "Life Back Then" took place after a screening of the movie at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival on October 13, 2011. Appearing as speakers are director Takahisa Zeze and actor Masaki Okada. AsianWiki editor Ki Mun was there and transcribed/translated the session.
- Audience Question - In the beginning of the movie, main character Kyohei sits on the roof naked. Could you tell us little bit why? Also, for Masaki Okada, how was it filming that scene?
- Takahisa Zeze (director) - The introductory scene takes place after Kyohei (played by Masaki Okada) cuts the picture on the high school bulletin board with a box cutter, which is shown later in the film. During the roof scene Kyohei's state of mind is completely destroyed. When the scenario was first written we had Kyohei sitting naked on a veranda. Then his father comes out and yells at Kyohei to stop. We changed it to a roof, because we couldn't find a good veranda to shoot from. We did film the father yelling at Kyohei to stop, but that scene didn't make the final cut. In the movie the mountain is an important scene so I hope the image of Kyohei sitting atop a high place connects with the mountain.
- Masaki Okada (actor) - When filming that scene it was very cold. Shooting took place in a residential area and the passers-by, who did not know we were shooting, were probably really surprised.
- Audience Question - This question is for Takahisa Zeze. Why did the final scene with Yuki end the way it did? Is there a message you want to send to the audience by that scene? Question for Masaki Okada, what scene in the movie is your favorite?
- Takahisa Zeze (director) - In the movie, Masaki Okada and Nana Eikura play survivors. Yuki survived the death of her baby through her miscarriage. Kyohei survived the death of his high school friend Nobuo. These two people are shattered from their experiences. Through their job of cleaning up the homes of the deceased they grow as persons. Kyohei then becomes a survivor again. During this time, Kyohei is in a different situation from high school. Kyohei accepts himself and thinks of Yuki for a long time. He hopes to live a better life. That's the reason for that scene.
- Masaki Okada (actor) - I like all the scenes in the movie, but among them I would say the scene in the love motel. The script did not have Kyohei crying, but during the filming of that scene I was just overwhelmed with emotions. That scene was probably the most memorable for me.
- Audience Question - This question is for Takahisa Zeze. The phrase "are you doing okay?" is featured prominently in the movie and it reminded of the movie "Love Letter," which also featured that phrase. What's the significance of "are you doing okay?" Question for Masaki Okada, your character had a speech impediment. He stuttered. Did you have difficulty portraying that?
- Takahisa Zeze (director) - I thought this question might come up, because I know "Love Letter" was very popular in South Korea. Of course, I did watch "Love Letter," but before that film came out a famous professional wrestler named Antonio Inoki used the phrase "are you doing okay?" all the time. Then, during filming of the movie, the devastating earthquake & tsunami hit Japan. I wanted to ask the people of Japan "are you doing okay?"
- Masaki Okada (actor) - Stuttering differs among people. I agonized a bit on expressing that. When I wanted to show my character's confidence I forgot the stuttering. Sometimes I stuttered a lot more. I found it hard to control.
- Audience Question - This question is for Masaki Okada. Among the movies you have acted in so far, which character is the closest to your real personality?
- Masaki Okada (actor) - Before acting in this movie, I thought the characters I played were different from me. I thought that way because I was embarrassed to show myself. This time around, I think you can see me as Kyohei. Kyohei is probably the closest to my personality.
- Audience Question - This question is for Takahisa Zeze. I watched the film "Departures" and this movie developed a similar storyline. By the middle part of this movie I could predict what would happen at the end. What caused or inspired you to make this movie? What made you pick the job of cleaning out the homes of the deceased?
- Takahisa Zeze (director) - This movie is based on a novel. What interested me in the novel were the young man and woman who deal with the problems’ of the old, people who die alone. In Japan, there are really companies that specialize in cleaning out the homes of the deceased. Sometimes, people do not connect with other people. They don't have relationships. That is why they die alone and have no one to take care of their belongings when they pass away. Then during the filming, the big earthquake & tsunami hit Japan. Survivors were looking for articles left by the deceased, including pictures. When I watched that I felt keenly that people wanted to connect with other people.
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