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Home arrow CINEMA arrow [VENEZIA74] Directors Damien Manivel and Kohei Igarashi present "La nuit où j'ai nagé"
[VENEZIA74] Directors Damien Manivel and Kohei Igarashi present "La nuit où j'ai nagé"
di Marisa Santin   


Damien Manivel (1981, France) worked as a dancer and a performer before directing his first short films, including The Lady with the Dog (Jean Vigo Prize, 2011) and Un dimanche matin (Cannes Critics Week AWARD). He directed feature films, too (Un jeune poète and Le Parc. A Young Poet, his first one, awarded with the Special Mention at the Locarno Film Festival). Kohei Igarashi directed his first feature film in 2008 (Voice of Rain That Comes at Night) before enrolling in a graduate course at the Tokyo University of the Arts. Hold Your Breath like a Lover of 2014 is his graduation work.


How did your cooperation between directors come about and how did you manage it on the set?
DM We met at the premiere of our films, A Young Poet and Hold Your Breath Like a Lover, and we immediately connected through our love of cinema. A few months later we decided to make a movie together. Kohei wanted to work with a young child and I wanted to film snowy landscapes.

KI We wrote the scenes and made every choice together but on the set, we often divided the work between us. Most of the time, I explained the actions to the actors and Damien worked close to the technical team and camera. But we could shift our roles when we felt like it. There was no rule between us, it felt natural, we spoke Japanese, with simple words, and that’s maybe why we came up with a very simple story.

The challenge of the cast: how was working with a child that bears, almost alone, the whole film on his shoulders?
KI I feel our work on the film really began the day we met him. Through him we discovered the tone and the form of our film, we discovered what story we needed to tell. I often thought that Takara was in fact making this film himself, with his actions, his body. We chose not to control him and let him be free as much as we could.
DM As far as I am concerned, I was really scared but excited. As soon as we began the shooting, we understood very clearly what we could do and what we couldn’t. The most important thing we understood is that we had to respect Takara's each day's state of mind and adapt our story to his own life, the life of a child.


A very simple story and almost no plot, telling in fact a whole world. How did you elevate the power of images and the poetic evocation of cinema? What symbols are present in the movie?
KI The film is a portrait of this child and also of the region of Aomori in Japan. As the snowy landscapes, it's both realistic and poetic. We didn't really look for symbols but to accept what happened every day on the shooting, and discover the world as it is with our cinema tools. 

DM When you are making a film, you have to feel a strong emotion towards what you are filming, you have to believe something will happen on the set, that a miracle could happen even in the smallest event. So, we simply filmed Takara's body, his family, a dog, and the landscapes. By filming that, we believed that we were portraying something wider, universal, and very deep about what it means to be a child.



Mount Kimbie’s Break Well and Common Frae the Town, a Scottish popular ballad but also the sound of the traffic signals in the neighborhood of our shooting, so we were hearing it everyday.



Rokuro Taniuchi’s illustrations books (In fact, the title of the film comes from one of his drawing) and J.D. Salinger Catcher in the rye.



My most precious inspiration is contemporary dance (DM). 

I always thought of Takara as a small Buster Keaton (KI).



Se quest’anno i titoli di Orizzonti sono 19 e non 18 come previsto, lo dobbiamo a questo film, inserito in corsa a selezione conclusa. La storia è quasi inesistente: un bambino di 6 anni si allontana da casa di buonora e comincia a vagare da solo immerso in un candido inverno giapponese. Vuole raggiungere il padre che lavora di notte presso una pescheria del vicino paese. Nessun dialogo, solo immagini di paesaggi incantati e poetici, quasi irreali, legate da un rigore compositivo che si regge su una grandissima cura estetica ed espositiva e sull’espressività del piccolo protagonista./ The story is very simple: in a small village of northern Japan, a six-yearold wanders away from home into the snow-white Japanese winter. He wants to reach his father, who works nightshift at a fish market one town over. No dialogue, only images of enchanted, poetic, almost unreal landscape.