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Interview: Mamoru Hosoda, Director of Wolf Children




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Penguin_Factory



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 650
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:10 pm Reply with quote
Awesome interview, I consider Hosoda one of the most exciting directors working in any medium and it's great to read the guy's opinions.

PSA: I've seen Wolf Children at a festival screening and it's the real deal. Excellent movie, nostalgic and rose-tinted but never so divorced from reality that it feels saccharine. I was surprised at how much Hosoda has advanced as a director since Summer Wars.
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GhostShell
Collector ExtraordinaireCollector Extraordinaire


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
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Location: Richmond, B.C., Canada

PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:10 pm Reply with quote
I also thought this was an excellent interview. Fascinating questions and answers. Originally, I didn't have much interest in seeing Wolf Children, despite having seen, liked, and added The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars to my collection. Lately, though, I've had a stronger desire to see Hosoda-san's latest work.
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Fronzel



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:16 pm Reply with quote
Movie's a little wonky but ultimately works well where it needs to and I was able to finish it unlike his earlier films.
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Maidenoftheredhand



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 1777

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:16 am Reply with quote
Great interview, love Hosoda and loved Wolf Children.

However I have to admit I was bothered by his response here:

Quote:
I like the idea of using female protagonists because most lives of men are focused on the success or failure of their careers, while other big events, like marriages and raising children, play bigger parts in the lives of women, leaving more space for artistic creation.


I think a film about motherhood and the way he presented it was beautiful. But to see the lives of women as associated with marriage/children and men with their careers is actually very limited in scope & stereotypical.

I would just as much love to see a story focusing on a man raising his children and a woman finding her place in the career world.
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bravetailor



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 775

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:15 pm Reply with quote
Maidenoftheredhand wrote:
Great interview, love Hosoda and loved Wolf Children.

However I have to admit I was bothered by his response here:

Quote:
I like the idea of using female protagonists because most lives of men are focused on the success or failure of their careers, while other big events, like marriages and raising children, play bigger parts in the lives of women, leaving more space for artistic creation.


I think a film about motherhood and the way he presented it was beautiful. But to see the lives of women as associated with marriage/children and men with their careers is actually very limited in scope & stereotypical.


I think he probably didn't express himself very well here. I find a lot of male directors who use women as protagonists simply tend to find that writing about women in society more interesting to explore, because as men they already know everything about men, so therefore writing about men seems "boring" to them.

That said, I've personally always found something slightly generic about his films and his characters, even when they're not ostensibly "generic" films. So he may well have a very boring and staid point of view about gender roles after all.

Quote:
I would just as much love to see a story focusing on a man raising his children and a woman finding her place in the career world


Or they could be like Pixar/Disney and simply use the ol' "kill the mother off" trope when they want a single Dad. Confused
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gwern



Joined: 05 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:38 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Both Summer Wars and Wolf Children are completely original stories. What have inspired you to write those stories? Were they part of your personal experience?


Ahem. Digimon?
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Bonham



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
Posts: 303
Location: Columbus, OH

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:56 pm Reply with quote
Maidenoftheredhand wrote:
Quote:
I like the idea of using female protagonists because most lives of men are focused on the success or failure of their careers, while other big events, like marriages and raising children, play bigger parts in the lives of women, leaving more space for artistic creation.


I think a film about motherhood and the way he presented it was beautiful. But to see the lives of women as associated with marriage/children and men with their careers is actually very limited in scope & stereotypical.

Is it something still common in Japan, though? I mean ideally no one would think in those terms—men having to be the primary breadwinner, women having to manage domesticity—but it's been a common cliche throughout Japanese entertainment to have the Japanese businessman be home away from his wife and children. While more women have thankfully gone out to have their own careers, I don't know if those gaps at home have been supplanted by men. Or it could just be a perception that the image of a caregiver still belongs with women, even as they have a bit more mobility in the workforce, while men are still seen as distant from the home.

It could just be some cultural sexism at work—never view your idols as perfect heroes, after all—but it could also be an awkwardly-worded/incomplete observation. Don't really know the answer.

gwern wrote:
Quote:
Both Summer Wars and Wolf Children are completely original stories. What have inspired you to write those stories? Were they part of your personal experience?


Ahem. Digimon?

Well for Summer Wars, sure, but that doesn't explain the whole narrative arc with the family (which is part of his personal experience).
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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 10320

PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:34 pm Reply with quote
Maidenoftheredhand wrote:
Great interview, love Hosoda and loved Wolf Children.

However I have to admit I was bothered by his response here:

Quote:
I like the idea of using female protagonists because most lives of men are focused on the success or failure of their careers, while other big events, like marriages and raising children, play bigger parts in the lives of women, leaving more space for artistic creation.


I think a film about motherhood and the way he presented it was beautiful. But to see the lives of women as associated with marriage/children and men with their careers is actually very limited in scope & stereotypical.


That's just the way it is in Japan where the film happens.
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vanfanel



Joined: 26 Dec 2008
Posts: 573

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:39 am Reply with quote
Bonham wrote:
But to see the lives of women as associated with marriage/children and men with their careers is actually very limited in scope & stereotypical.


Oh, the horror.
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Maidenoftheredhand



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 1777

PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:41 am Reply with quote
Bonham wrote:

It could just be some cultural sexism at work—never view your idols as perfect heroes, after all—but it could also be an awkwardly-worded/incomplete observation. Don't really know the answer.



I suppose it could be a little bit of both

Also I am not saying there is anything wrong with a woman who decides to forgo a career and raise her children. I loved the movie because I still feel it was about women's choices. In fact it somewhat reminded me of a combination of the 1980's movie Baby Boom and Takahata's Only Yesterday (two films I am very fond of).

But still whether it is traditionally a Japanese outlook or not (and I don't think this is only an issue in Japan) I don't think seeing men and women only in very specific gender roles is a positive thing.

Also I don't expect or think Hosoda is perfect. It's not like the quote suddenly changes my opinion of him as a director or storyteller. I still love him immensely. But just because I love him doesn't mean I won't point out when he says something I think is wrong.
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Bonham



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:26 pm Reply with quote
vanfanel, Maidenoftheredhand posted that quote, not me. And I don't see what's so objectionable about it to respond with sarcasm.

Maidenoftheredhand wrote:
Also I am not saying there is anything wrong with a woman who decides to forgo a career and raise her children. I loved the movie because I still feel it was about women's choices. In fact it somewhat reminded me of a combination of the 1980's movie Baby Boom and Takahata's Only Yesterday (two films I am very fond of).

Well I didn't say or imply you do think that (unless you're responding to vanfanel). I actually think it's cool that Hosoda is able to portray truly admirable and well-defined female characters without forcing them to take on particularly masculine roles/attitudes. While I really love the Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex series, I can see why some people have said that Kusanagi could be a man (some may argue that's part of the point, but I don't think the series really explores sexual identity). Having a woman who's just a "bad-ass chick," particularly in a genre-work is often just pandering, whereas I feel that for Hosoda's works, the two sexes are on a level playing field.

Quote:
But still whether it is traditionally a Japanese outlook or not (and I don't think this is only an issue in Japan) I don't think seeing men and women only in very specific gender roles is a positive thing.

Also I don't expect or think Hosoda is perfect. It's not like the quote suddenly changes my opinion of him as a director or storyteller. I still love him immensely. But just because I love him doesn't mean I won't point out when he says something I think is wrong.

I don't think it's a uniquely Japanese thing, but I'd argue that changing gender roles didn't necessarily catch on at the same time (or possibly the same way) as they did in the U.S.

And I was just talking in general. Many people forget their role models are also human.
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Chrno2



Joined: 28 May 2004
Posts: 3748
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:07 pm Reply with quote
I enjoyed this little section. I look forward to seeing more good stuff from him. He seems to be really about making great feature films, either hit or miss.
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