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Oct. 26 Competiton “A Better Life” Press Conference: Notes & Quotes

We held a press conference featuring A Better Life from the Competition section today as follows:


■ Date & Time    October 26th (Wednesday), from 16:30 @Movie Café

■ Appearance     Cédric Kahn (Director/Screenplay)


©2011 TIFF


Here are some notes and quotes:


Q: In the credit, there was a title and a message that read “freely inspired from this work”. Is there an original piece that this film is based on? If so, is it a novel or reportage on the social situation in France?


Cédric Kahn(CK): The title is of a novel by a French writer. I was initially inspired by this novel in making this film. However, as I was writing the script, I began side tracking and at the end, the story no longer followed the novel. But I did get inspiration from that book, so I wanted to be honest in giving it a credit.



Q: As in the film, more and more people are sinking into debt hell in Japan. Is this the same in France?


CK:   Of course and unfortunately, there are many. The poor get poorer and financial institutions are reluctant to extend new lending to these people, only making their situation worse.



Q: Have you always thought of using a boy instead of a girl for the story?


CK:   Yes, the decision was already made when I started writing. It is a bit complicated to explain, but I wanted to keep the relationship simple—between a man and a boy. Maybe things would have been different and not as simple if it were between a man and a girl. So in the film, I wanted to depict a deepening relationship between a man without family and a boy without a father.


©2011 TIFF


Q: After the man and the boy went to Quebec, I imagined that maybe Nadia would die or commit a murder and cannot come out of prison, or perhaps the man would commit a crime and the boy becomes alone again… some sort of a more dramatic development. But the story unfolds in a simpler way, and ends almost like a happy ending.


CK: Well, it is not a happy ending, but I wanted to give hope—that the family is saved and could start rebuilding their family relationships.



Q: During the Q&A session yesterday, you said, “Don’t simply accept your destiny, but fight against it!”


CK: In this film, I wanted to express the importance of not giving up and accepting fate, but to fight to rebuild your own life. I work hard every day to achieve my desired lifestyle. Well, at least I am more fortunate than the characters in this film!


©2011 TIFF


Q: Please tell us why you decided on using Guillaume Canet. What kind of actor is he?


CK: Guillaume is a great actor. He is flexible and can act different kinds of role. For this film, he was perfect in terms of appearance and age, too—a little ordinary looking young man growing into a mature man and to become a father… He looks younger than his age, somewhat baby-faced, and at times, it looked more like a boy and an older boy instead of a boy and a man, and that really worked in the story.



Q: Could you give advice or message to the younger generations who may forge the future of filmmaking?


CK: I can talk about the French film industry, but I do not know enough about Japan to give advice. But to mention one, I would say, do not listen to people’s advice too much, especially when it comes from older people. They could be jealous and tend to give more negative opinions than productive ones!

KEIRIN.JPThe 24th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
23rd Tokyo International Film Festival(2010)