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“Many social changes start with art” ── The creative possibilities of asking Andrew Levitas, the director of “MINAMATA”. | Vogue Japan

exactly. Of course, as an artist, I intend to make full use of visual production and the dynamism of the story to create a work of art with a soul, but the ultimate goal is to help change people’s consciousness. I strongly believe that you want me to do it.

──If you intend to convey the facts,documentaryIt should be okay to make it as, but why didn’t you do it?

I often watch documentaries myself, but basically I felt that documentaries had the unfortunate side of reaching only those who were interested in the subject matter. In the case of a feature film, for example, a person who is attracted to the actor who is appearing is impressed by the subject matter of the work without realizing it. There will be more chances to raise awareness of the problem. So even if I made a feature film like this, I never looked away from the most important truth. How the characters behaved and were treated. By drawing the time and place exactly, I want to imprint the little-known facts on the hearts of the audience.

Minamata disease, which was officially discovered in Minamata City, Kumamoto Prefecture in 1956, is a pollution disease caused by industrial wastewater discharged untreated by the Chisso Minamata Plant in the same area into Minamata Bay. It is primarily the name given to addictive central nervous system diseases caused by people who orally ingest fish affected by wastewater containing a large amount of methylmercury, but it also applies to similar pollution diseases. In the early 1970s, when Eugene interviewed, the local protest struggle was intensifying.

──On the other hand, there is a complicated situation in which the problem of Minamata does not become a movie in Japan, which is the party concerned. What do you think about that?

I can understand such a situation well. However, the times are changing, so for example, if this work of mine is seen by the younger generation in Japan, it may raise their awareness of “let’s change society.” I believe that many social changes begin with art. This work encourages young Japanese people to challenge various expressions as an artist. If that happens, it’s exactly what I wanted. I feel that the younger generation today is getting less and less likely to get to know the complex content just by scrolling through the news headlines online. I want you to take a closer look at something important by sitting and watching the movie for two hours. Increasing such opportunities may lead to a small step towards a just society.


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