Expressive Noise: An Interview with Naoki Kato on 2045 Carnival Folklore


David Novack:

The conceptual background for the film concerns a struggle for psychic control of the population in the post-apocalyptic technoscape of “YKHM City” in the wake of a global nuclear disaster. For the authoritarian government, everything must return to normal, despite the chaos and destruction that rages through the city. Most of the population has already forgotten, except for those imprisoned in the pyscho ward; one resident develops a miniature reactor, which suffers a mini-meltdown, as the other inmates debate the safety of reinstating nuclear power. The ongoing effects of the 3.11.11 triple disaster are clearly on your mind, and embedded in the film. What is your sense of the current moment in Japan, politically and artistically, in regards to nuclear policy and the ongoing effects of the meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi?

Naoki Kato:

Survivors of disaster try to overcome their reality.  There are so many supporters, and people going on with their lives. Others who have not faced such a devastating situation will forget with time about traumatic events and lose their memories. I’m the same myself. On the other hand, there are some people who deliberately set out to erase this disaster from people’s memory. Although the situation of nuclear contamination, and the possibilities of a similar disaster happening in Japan are definitely not ZERO, some keep saying this is nothing or that it could never happen again. I made a short film called “Echo Never Goes Out”: as this title reflect, the effects of things that happened before are never erased, and their impact is neverending. But the worst thing is that our government is actively trying to erase the fact that these things happened in the past, just so we can attract the Olympics to Tokyo. But even before that event can even take place, war or terrorism could happen at any time.

A month after 3.11, I went to Fukushima with friends, to visit to places and people related to Abraxas. Then we went towards Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant. I was shocked to see the destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami. And as we come closer to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, there are fewer and fewer people, and the scene I face becomes extremely unusual. Invisible radiation is scattered all around, and we cannot detect it. I feel a fear that never experienced before. Even if I start a camera to shoot the scene, I cannot capture anything of the radioactivity.  The things we cannot see, the fears we can feel – I thought these things could not be taken into the film. This simple thought overwhelmed me. At that time, I felt that I could not create a film.  Then the “2045” project was started in 2012. I started thinking through the outlines, and the story in Spring 2012, and created the screenplay in Fall. We shot most of scenes in between the winter of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. So it was this film that reflected my thoughts and feelings from 2011, the year of the 3.11 disaster. It was very hard to change my feeling from “I won’t be able to make films anymore” to “I will try again.”– I think I can shoot a film again if it’s about Noise.

◼︎Full length interview can be read below

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