What Would You Do If Electricity Disappears?
“The Survival Family” Premieres in Chicago
• “The Survival Family” premiered on February 11 at 268 theatres in Japan and attracted 130,000 visitors in two days. Its sale during the period was about $1.5 million. Writer-Director of the movie Shinobu Yaguchi was invited to Chicago by the Asian Pop-up Cinema, which has introduced Asian culture via films, and showed up at AMC theatre where his movie was premiered on March 1st.
• What would happen if electricity disappeared from the
earth? No smartphone, no electrical appliance, no automobile, no train,
no airplane is in use. Rumors are the only available social media.
Interview with Director Yaguchi
• Q: You wrote the story. How did you get the idea for it?
• Yaguchi: In my nature, I’m very much awkward using computers or smartphones and saw news about a great blackout in New York and Canada in 2003. Since then, I’ve been thinking about it.
• Q: When did you shoot the film?
• Y: It was from September to the end of November in 2015.
• Q: It was amazing to see that many people were walking on a highway where every car was dead. How did you make it happen?
• Y: Simply, I filmed the scene. All the scenes were
shot on location with no CG. I was very lucky to stop running cars on
a highway from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Y: Yes. We moved every day and continued filming. So
the Suzukis literally got tired day by day as the film showed.
• Q: I heard that actor Kohinata, who played the role of Mr. Suzuki, said that he paid respect to you but sometimes blamed you.
• Y: I think so. The scenes became harder and harder
toward the end, but I asked them to play as planned.
• Q: The family comes to Tsutenkaku in Osaka. Is it a real Tsutenkaku?
• Y: Yes! I filmed the scene in the early morning. Our staff prepared everything at night, and we were going to start shooting at the sunrise; however, an unexpected incident happened. Drunken men came out from a tavern and complained a lot about the scene where artificial garbage was spread all over. While our staff was trying to calm them down, I filmed the Osaka scene.
• Q: You have to deal with any happening.
• Y: Do you remember the scene when an aquarium in Osaka
offers meals for hungry people with its fish? Getting permission from
the aquarium was very hard because of the distasteful feeling of such
a thing. But only Suma aquarium in Kobe gave us permission.
• Q: The scenes in the Survival Family are thrilling and incidents occur from one to the next such as attacks by starved dogs and a steamer.
• Y: I traveled a lot to figure out the scenes. I found
that a bottle of battery liquid was drinkable, canned cat food was edible,
and so on during the trips.
• Q: How did you set the destination as Kagoshima?
• Y: Actually, I did a questionnaire survey how a certain age group reacted to a no electricity situation. I found that most 20-somethings thought that they would die within a month; on the other hand, aged groups listed survival methods such as planting vegetables or fishing by moving to a relative’s house in rural area. The survey hinted to me that the survival family’s goal was Kagoshima.
• Q: You are a hard-minded director, but I think that you are a genuine writer.
• Y: I published a novel “The Survival Family” after completing the film. I really enjoy trips and meeting people to get information that excites me.
• Q: Thank you very much
Director Shinobu Yaguchi
Scenes from The Survival Family. (Photos: courtesy
of the Asian Pop-up Cinema)