„This is Yamiken stuff”

Im Gespräch mit Takahide Hori, dem Kopf hinter „Junk Head“ 

„Junk Head“ lässt seine Zuschauer in eine Welt reisen, die noch über tausend Jahre vom Jetzt entfernt ist. Der Underground-Künstler Takahide Horn hat in jahrelanger Arbeit mit knapp 80 eigenhändig konstruierten Latexfiguren einen dystopischen Stop-Motion Epos erschaffen. Die beiden OffBloggerinnen Phyllis Frieling und Janina Gründemann sprachen mit ihm per Skype über sein langersehntes Meisterwerk – begleitet von kleinen sprachlichen Hindernissen und einer Übersetzerin …

Frage: Has „stop-motion“ always been the technique of your choice or have you been working differently before?

Takahide Hori: 私はずっと内装工事の仕事をしていて、映像制作の経験や知識は有りませんでした。ストップモーションなら簡単に映像が作れるという思い込みで作った「JUNK HEAD」が初めて作った映像作品です。他の映像表現は知りません。

I had been doing interior work for a long time, like an amusement park. I made DisneySea and had no experience with or knowledge of filmmaking. Junk Head, which I made under the assumption that a stop-motion movie would be easy, is my first film.

I don’t know any other film techniques.

When did the idea of „Junk Head“ came to your mind? Did you sense by then that it’s going to take such a long time?

Takahide Hori

Hori: I started making it over seven years ago, but when I concentrate I forget about time, so it flew by.

We’ve read that working on „Junk Head“ is your hobby – is this true? What do you do for a living?

Hori: While doing interior work I made the 30-minute short version independently over four years

When people liked the short, we produced 85 minutes following an investment from a Japanese company to make the 115-minute feature film.

Why did you choose to do a stop-motion movie, why not an animation? What is special for you about using stop-motion?

Hori: I have experience in making and selling marionettes, so I thought it would be easy. I’m quick-tempered, so I didn’t think drawing the same picture over and over for 2-D animation would suit me.

How many frames did it take to create the whole film?

Hori: Since it’s 24 frames per second, it would be over 160.000 frames if you simply calculate it out, but in reality, some scenes are done with processed still images, so it’s probably about 150.000 frames.

How long does it take to create one figure and the set? How much time did you spend creating the props, and how long did you actually „shoot“ the film?

Hori: For the models, the quickest one takes about three days; the robot hero takes about two weeks.

About 60% of the production time went to making models and sets; shooting, effects, and sound production, etc. were around 40%.

Im Skype-Interview

There is one scene where the little figures get an injection and their bodies transform – did you use post production or is the whole film done frame by frame?

Hori: There are only two types of figures, small and large (puny and macho). The frames in between connect them little by little using images processed in Photoshop.

Why did you do it all by yourself?

Hori: Because I don’t have any friends (laughs). Partway through, I was able to hire some people because I got financed, but since there wasn’t much money, I had an average of three people on staff [at any one time].

I figured I could do everything, even if it took a while. Actually, I think doing the work myself helped keep the style consistent. But being able to work for such a long time without giving up might be a kind of stubborn personality disorder.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Hori: The Soviet film Kin-dza-dza!, Alien, Hellraiser, etc. I’m also inspired by the manga creator Tsutomu Nihei.

Do you consider „Junk Head“ to be an example of „japanese film“ – if this categorization makes sense at all?

Hori: There are practically no movies like Junk Head in Japan. I doubt there are many in the world in general. I think we can make the setting of a global underground world with mechanized humans and clones into a genre of its own.

If people say, “Hey, this is like Yamiken stuff”, that’s the genre I’m aiming to create.

(Anmerkung: Yamiken ist Horis Künstlername)

I felt both impressed and disturbed at the same time – especially the monsters were fascinating and unsettling, they were amazing but also awful. Was it your intention to make your audience feel uneasy?

Hori: Monsters are wild beasts—you can’t reason with them. When they attack, it’s the same as nature’s wrath, so there’s nothing humans can do. They’re terrifying beings which can be thought of as a type of natural disaster that strikes in the artificial underground world, like a typhoon or an earthquake.

„Junk Head“ is a dystopian story – do you think humankind will actually put an end to itself?

Hori: Humanity is still incomplete, and I don’t think the future will bring any unification of human intentions, but thanks to our diversity, I don’t think we’ll destroy ourselves.

What happened to humankind? Why did they have to find the DNA?

Hori: Since humans achieve eternal life, there is no need to leave behind descendants, and they lose that useless ability, but when a virus that threatens their eternal life begins to spread, they face a crisis of extinction, so they search for DNA to flourish once more.

There are two scenes in the film about dancing – to be honest, I did not quite get what it was about. It felt important though. Could you explain why you chose to make your figures dance in such a dismal, gloomy world?

Hori: The world of thousands of years in the future seems far removed from mankind today, so it feels like just a story, but showing that they dance, that they have some culture in common with our present, connects the dots for the audience that this is a story about the future of mankind.

Das Gespräch führten Phyllis Frieling und Janina Gründemann.
Die Antworten schickte Takahide Horis Übersetzerin Atsuko.
Fotos: Filmfest Oldenburg

Screening von „Junk Head“:
So., 17.9., 21.30 Uhr, Cine k/Studio

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Pflichtfelder sind mit * markiert.