Jul 03, 2013

    Why I always stood by Dad

    Japanese film producer Jiro Shindo, 64, has made a number of films with his father, world-renowned director Kaneto Shindo, who died in May last year.

    Some of the notable films the father-and-son team has worked on are A Last Note and Children Of Hiroshima. The latter will be screened at the Japanese Film Festival, on from now till Monday.

    Mr Shindo speaks to My Paper about what it was like having a famous director as a father.

    Your mother, Nobuko Otowa, is an actress. How was it like growing up in a family that was involved in films?

    Although I knew my father was a director, I thought of it merely as an ordinary job.

    I began discussing films with my father after serving as an assistant on location and I started to respect him after observing the staff's attitude towards him. It made me realise how important his position as a director was.

    What was it like working with your father?

    My father did not trust producers. After some convincing, I managed to gain his trust and had him accept my views as a producer.

    Although we had disputes over certain scenarios, I would stand by his side as he was, after all, my father. I can say that our relationship as director and producer was good.

    Which films do you have the fondest memories of making with your father?

    Live Today, Die Tomorrow! (1970), A Last Note (1995), Ishiuchi Jinjo Shogakko Hana Wa Chiredomo (2008) and Postcard (2010).

    Can you tell us more about A Last Note?

    My father made this film after feeling that age had caught up with him.

    It was also the last film which featured my mother, who was diagnosed with liver cancer and had only 17 months to live.

    Only my father and I knew how much longer she had to live, and filming commenced without the rest of the staff and actors knowing.

    She died two months after we watched the preview together.

    I felt that my father expressed it splendidly when he said that the best he could give his beloved lifelong companion and actress was this final movie.

    What is the most important lesson you learnt from your father?

    No matter what the difficulty, ponder over it only after you have reached the final hurdle.

    Do you feel pressured to carry on your father's legacy?

    I'm feeling very pressured. Kaneto Shindo was of a rare breed of film-makers in the Japanese film industry and surpassing him is impossible.

    If there was one more film you could shoot with your father, what would it be?

    He had written a scene for Children Of Hiroshima, which regrettably wasn't filmed due to budget and his old age.

    We wanted to show the world the moment the atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima and I felt that my father was the most disappointed about (not being able to film) it.


    Children Of Hiroshima will be screened on Saturday, 11am, at the National Museum of Singapore. Admission is free. Visit