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Valuable conversation between director Hideaki Anno and Kihachi Okamoto 1 of 2

About the characters' reactions

Okamoto: So just do what feels good to you. Where the play needs a reaction, you just show the one the audience wants to see, you know. If there is an attacker in a scene, the audience will want to know what the defender looks like. That's why I include reactions.

Anno: There's always a reaction, isn't there?

Okamoto: So, in the case of 40 to 50 cuts, I split the shots in half (attack and defense reactions). Young people nowadays say that's difficult, but I think it's the easiest way if you learn it.

Anno: "Blue Christmas" is also good, because it always has reactions. I liked the fact that there was no off-line dialogue (*13). Instead of a long take with a fixed camera, you always used a reverse angle (*14) with the camera on (*15). That's really cool.

No matter how small the reaction is, you always include the receiving line. Tatsuya Nakadai's "Ooh" (with hand gestures) was also included, and I liked the detail and completeness of it.

Whenever there is something happening, there is always a "yes" response, right? I really like how the scene changes after the "yes" is said. Whenever I draw a storyboard, I always include that. I'm told by the staff that it' a bit too much.

*13) A line of dialogue spoken when the character's mouth is not visible, such as off-screen or when the character's face is not visible.

*14) a cutback.

*15) A character is on screen.

Okamoto: But I've been looking at your work, and I feel a closeness to you (laughs).

Anno: Thank you very much!

Okamoto: I felt that.

Anno: If someone asked me who my most favorite film director was, I would have said "Kihachi Okamoto" before even thinking about it.

Okamoto: I'm so grateful (laughs).

I sometimes watch movies without any reaction, but when they go on and on without any reaction, I start thinking about how I want to see what the defenders look like, and it makes my head hurt.

Anno: Recently, I've been trying to make the audience think about it. I think I've been a little too kind in showing things. I need to think of a way to intentionally avoid showing it.

Okamoto: That's the only way to do it when you're doing long takes.

Anno: I'm getting bored with that, and I'm wondering if there's anything new.

Okamoto: What's new these days is "jumping" (*16) in the scene.

Anno: It's a "no-arrangement(*16)" approach. I think there's a feeling of comfort that comes from that. But it's almost like manipulating information, isn't it? You decide what you want to show the audience, and that's enough.

*16) A method of connecting scenes and cuts in such a way that the scenes and cuts "jump" by omitting unnecessary setups (actions, descriptions, explanations) when developing the story.

Okamoto: The customer is more advanced than the filmmaker. So, I think it's quite possible to do that.

Anno: Thanks to TV, people are used to watching images, so I think they can keep up with that. So I'm sure new methods will emerge, but I'm going back to the French New Wave (*17). Maybe I've come full circle and am back to where I started.

*17) The movement was characterized by its rejection of traditional filmmaking conventions in favor of experimentation and a spirit of The movement was characterized by its rejection of traditional filmmaking conventions in favor of experimentation and a spirit of iconoclasm.

Animation and Live Action

Okamoto: Animation and live-action are both the same thing, but I think it's absolutely possible to say that live-action is not the best, but that animation has a significant advantage in this area.

Anno: Among animation directors, there's a lot of longing, or rather complaining, about live-action. They just replace the live-action images with celluloid pictures and slide them in. I think they just want to make animation look more like live-action.

Okamoto: I don't think you should think about it that way.

Anno: That's right. It's painful to watch.

Okamoto: And we both have our limits.

AM: Anno-san, you were saying that it would be good if everyone in the animation industry learned the rhythm of Okamoto-san's transitions.

Anno: Animation is also a "world of pauses". I think it's most efficient to seek pleasure in the moment when the world changes from the world of pauses to the world of pauses. The moment when the cut changes, that kind of thing.

AM: You felt that kind of comfort when you watched Okamoto's films.

Anno: Yes. In TV, there is a limit of 3,500 pictures in 30 minutes. So you can't move the characters around as much as you'd like. So where do you look for the best visual efficiency when you can't move the characters, I think it's the moment when the cut changes.

AM: In that respect, Okamoto-san's films are very pleasing.

Anno: It feels really good. It's one of the ultimate pleasures of film.

In commemoration of the release of the film version, a conversation between Hideaki Anno and Kihachi Okamoto: "I'm here to talk about 'photography (film)'. (From the January 1997 issue of Animage Monthly)

<Original JP site: https://type-r.hatenablog.com/entry/20151029>