Two weeks ago we did a screening on the little big screen for three people. One of these was fellow filmmaker Tony Ukpo. Tony's just got back to me with feedback, and I thought I'd share it with you guys.
From what you'd told me and from reading the blog and all, I had a certain idea of what the film might be like. Any film about Japan is something I would always be happy to see, but it was so much more than that. And, in fact, it sort of gave me the feeling (one that is quite prevalent in the film): the draw that Tokyo has. Watching it I kept thinking: "now i really want to go live in Japan...even if just for a few years" (something I have contemplated in the past and again recently before I saw the film, funnily enough).
I thought it was not invasive as some personal documentaries seem to be, and even the history between you and...Mark is it? didn't seem to be overly dramatic or calling for sympathy; it just helped to encapsulate the feeling that the country, or the city rather, is all consuming in all possible ways.
I think your mini pitch of "lost in translation for real" is even more clear after watching the film because it does showcase all those things foreigners associate with Japan and the Japanese experience, as well as the Japanese reaction to foreigners. But, at the same time, it felt so open. Even though, of course, the Japanese are indeed quite an exclusive bunch to some degree, you really get that sense of openness to one and all, which is kind of a parallel to what America used to offer or aspire to offer: a country that accepts all. In contrast, however, the Japanese don't try to change the foreigners. They just let them be. Yet there is this great movement by some foreigners to try to fit in, and, conversely, succeeding because of their difference. I really felt that watching the film.
I liked the kind of disconnected voice over that was a lot more poetic and speaking about things in a different context from the stories we were following. The passage of time works really well and fluidly. And it all looks really good too! So go Patrick!
I'm kind of rambling a bit and possibly repeating myself, but the summary of it all is that I really like the film and I really feel it's going to work well for you once it gets out, so congrats in advance for all the rewards you should be receiving in the near future. I always respect people who really try to do things without waiting for the perfect conditions and make films from the heart and not just following some formula or audience numbers, and I hope to see more of that in the coming years.