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Jellyfish Addresses Taboo Love

Jellyfish Addresses Taboo Love


The taught Japanese drama Jellyfish describes a prohibited relationship between teenager girls.


Jellyfish, directed by the well-known Japanese auteur Shusuke Kaneko, was screened at Theater 2 of the festival and then there was a Q&A by the actors after the screening. The film is based on Sarie Hinakura’s original story of the same name that she published when she was just 16 years old.


The novel describes a taboo relationship between 2 adolescent girls. Their relationship engenders mixed feelings in them, ranging from tenderness and purity to cruelty and jealousy. The sensitivity and insight of director Kaneko is clear throughout the movie.


The film screened to a packed house of international people at the fest, and women were especially prominent in the audience.   


For the Q&A after the film the main actresses Miho Otani (who played Yuki Miyashita) and Rumi Hanai (who portrayed Kyoko Shinohara), Hiroki Kawata of the comedic group Garage Sale and the director Shusuke Kaneko came on stage. They talked about the ideas frankly put forth the film.


The actresses addressed the issue of nudity in the piece. To the question, “How did you feel when you accepted the role in a film with many love scenes?” Otani answered, “I was told ‘This is main character but you need to be naked.’ I didn’t have any hesitation to get nude. I thought if one is to be a real actress it cannot be avoided. Then I said ‘I want to do it’ to the president of the office I belong.”


Hanai answered the same question, “From age 3 to 21 I was very serious about rhythmic gymnastics but an injury paralyzed me on one side of my body. At that time a lot of movies helped me so I decided to become an actress. When I auditioned for this I could pass in the first time. Then I read the script, I thought ‘wow, it’s super! Naked is not a big deal if I want to be an actress.’ If I take off my clothes and can communicate something to the audience, I should do it. I appreciate that the director chose me even though it’s my first job as an actress.”     


The director Kaneko answered the question “What is the most important thing when filming a female character?” He noted, “To love them is important. But I cannot touch them directly, so I love the 2 girls with the camera. In the movie, Otani and Hanai became the characters they were playing, so I just shot the scenes.” The audience gave the response a big hand.


The next question was for Kawata. “What was the most difficult thing during filming?” He answered, “I played the role of a video shop clerk and we shot in the porno section. I thought I would go crazy because I was surrounded by porno movies and there was naked girl in front of me!”


The entire team said, “We hope many people will watch this movie.” Otani added the reason, “If a lot of people watch, perhaps the love the 2 girl’s feel can be better understood.” Hanai said, “I seriously did my best. I do hope this film can reach people.” Also Kawata commented, “The film is about the pure feeling of love.” Finally the director Kaneko offered some insight, “This is the world the cast created with their intensity. We should respect it.”


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