In And Your Bird Can Sing, three young adults flutter trough the streets of Japanese port city Hakodate. In this lighthearted drama, written and directed by filmmaker Shô Miyake, a love triangle unfolds between two men and a woman. They play pool and ping pong, rummage through a supermarket and dance drunkenly in a night club together.
The lethargic atmosphere is reminiscent of the work of Richard Linklater: the director who, in films like Before Sunrise, beautifully captures the love blossoming between two characters through his mesmerizing tracking shots.
We asked Miyake (1984) about his motivations to make a movie about youth.
Can you explain your fascination for coming of age-stories? Since your latest film, The Wild Tour, is also about young people.
“It’s just plain fun to work with actors at this age. It’s the age at which people are a bit instable, but also delicate and bold.”
It feels as if your characters are aware of this notion that they’re living in the moment. Maybe that’s because they gradually realize that they won’t have this experience later in their lives. This creates a bittersweet atmosphere. Do you agree?
“You live only once. Nothing ever happens the same way twice. I think the medium film is so good for expressing that idea.”
Your characters are constantly occupied with these mundane acts: playing with ice cubes, shooting pool. As a filmmaker, how do you make scenes like that intriguing? How do you elevate something that at first sight looks fairly boring?
“If you cannot find anything fun or interesting in your daily life, that’s like admitting that your life is really boring! I want to cherish the world in front of me, not dream of a distant utopia out there somewhere.”
Let’s talk about the aesthetics of your film. I noticed a blue hue in certain scenes. Was that intentional? Does this have a special significance?
“I wanted to capture the beauty of Hakodate’s natural light. So I decided to use different hues to create images that leave an impression.”
Can you explain why you chose to approach your film using the fly on the wall-concept? Is that the best way to capture youth? Or do you have another reason?
“This is a story about friendship, so I wanted to capture the trio with the same sort of distance you’d feel with friends, rather than watching them from afar. I want the audience to have the experience of spending time with the characters. To become friends with them.”
Can you talk a little bit about the dreamy soundtrack, made by the artist Hi’Spec?
“He’s a beat maker, and he’s one of the most amazing musicians in Japan. I cannot put his music into words! Anyway, his music is the best.”
And finally, have you seen any of the movies showing at our festival?
“I haven’t, but they all look interesting. If I had to pick one, I would like to see The Ground Beneath My Feet, with the female protagonist.
Japanese translator: Martha Hickey