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[InC-terview] Popular animation director Mamoru Hosoda talks about his latest film Mirai!

By Say Peng  /  29 Aug 2018 (Wednesday)

Mirai is the latest animated film from acclaimed Japanese animation director Mamoru Hosoda, famed for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and The Boy and the Beast.

The film, which premiered at Cannes Film Festival this year, follows a little boy called Kun, who becomes racked with jealousy at the arrival of his new baby sister who is taking up all his parents' attention. One day, he encounters a mysterious girl named Mirai, who turns out to be his younger sister... from the future.

InCinemas is privileged to speak to director Hosoda about Mirai.

Your films are always inspired by personal experiences. What personal experiences have inspired Mirai? 

Mamoru Hosoda: I think that all the happiness and problems that are happening in my own family also occur to other families in the world. The idea of making this film “MIRAI” is inspired by my son who got a new born sister.   

You’ve mentioned that you’re interested in depicting the development of children. Why do you think it’s important to show that on film? 

MH: I am hoping that through depicting the vitality of children, both the adults in our society and myself can become energetic. For me, I have gained so much power to live from Disney’s fantasy when I was in middle school and animation such as Beauty and the Beast when I was in university.   

In Mirai, you show the mother returning to work and the father becoming the househusband. Are such arrangements becoming more and more common in Japan?

MH: This movie was not meant to sound a warning sign or criticize old Japanese family system, it was not meant to send a message to the audience that a family should live like this or so. I was merely depicting my own friends and Japanese people around me who are extremely ordinary.

You continue to hand-draw your films even till today when a lot of animations are done with computer-generated imagery. Why?

MH: As far as background art is concerned, we have been very particular about drawing with paintbrush and paint, however we are now in a critical situation. Films that require hand drawing using paintbrush and paint are probably just Director Miyazaki’s and my own works, but the number of excellent painters are drastically decreasing.

What’s your process for casting voice actors? 

MH: I have always been looking for voice actors who can connect to the soul of film characters, ever since “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”.  A method that I often use for casting voice actors is to hold an audition.

Have your own children watched Mirai? How have they reacted to it?

MH: I have heard from my wife who has watched the film with the children that they liked it very much.

Who has most influenced you as a filmmaker?

MH: Many people have influenced me, I cannot narrow it down to one.

What’s an animation film you watched recently that you really like?

MH: I was making my own film, so I did not watch any animation or live-action movies.

Mirai will be showing in cinemas from 30th August. Be sure to watch it!

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