"A Happy Ending"
Undercover Report on Filming & Production (2)

【Reporter / Yuji Koyama】

The second day of the undercover interview

【cranked up in a rage】

Forced crank-in

 A certain day in July. Today is the crank-in for the Mikawa Eiga "Happy Ending". The location was Kaimo Shrine in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. It was about a five-minute cab ride from the nearest station, Toyota City Station. Today, Toyota City's "Oiden Festival" is being held, and the streets in front of and around the station are very lively. From evening to night, the streets are blocked off and citizens dance continuously in an event called "Odori Final," which is said to be very exciting. Considering the situation a week ago, I was a bit nervous to meet the director and the lead actress, Kana-san. I wondered if things had improved since then.

Director Iwamatsu, who greeted me, was unexpectedly in high spirits; I had heard that three days earlier he had been rushed to the hospital from the elementary school where he worked after collapsing from a stomach ache during work. (Director Iwamatsu was an elementary school teacher at the time.) Ms. Inoue, the lead actress, looked as if she had been rehearsing for three months and was finally ready to crank the film, and her expression was full of anticipation. However, Kana, the other lead actress, was not very talkative, perhaps due to nervousness. I asked her about it, and it seemed that it had been a week since I last interviewed her. She had been crying every day at the rehearsal hall and could not resume rehearsals until the crank-in. I wonder how she must have felt when she arrived at today's date. Did she ever want to run away? It is painful for us to think of the feelings of a girl who is only 16 years old. Regardless of her feelings, time was ticking away, and when the shooting was to begin at 18:00 pm, the shooting would begin whether we wanted it to or not.

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Before filming, all staff and cast members pray for the safe completion of filming at the Kaimo Shrine. I asked Kondo-san, the recorder, who was standing next to me, "Did you find a location for the rooftop?" He told me that they were forced to crank the film in the end without finding a location. Mr. Nakayama, the line producer, who was listening to the conversation, said, "Director Iwamatsu is a bulldozer. There are huge holes in front of him, but he pushes forward regardless of the situation. He never stops even though there are piles of problems ahead of him. That's why the staff is desperate to keep up with him," he says with a wry smile.

After praying for success and safety at the shrine where the filming took place, we see Mr. Sato, an art staff member, being yelled at by a street vendor from a food stall lined up on the grounds of the shrine. For this shoot, a set of food stalls had been erected by the art team a short distance away from the real stalls. This was for the filming of a scene in which the main character and his son, both in their childhood, purchase records displayed in the stall. However, the set of the stall was so realistic that the filmmakers mistook it for a real business, and they were scolded, "Are you guys paying for the place? He was even scolded by the owner, "Are you guys paying for the place? The filming today did not turn out to be a problem, since we had obtained permission from Toyota City in advance and the tekiyaki vendors who were doing business at the stalls had been notified. The art team was relieved.
2:30 p.m. A rehearsal was held with extras and cameramen. Two rows of food stalls were already lined up in the precincts of the shrine. The filming that day was to take place between the rows of stalls. However, due to portrait rights issues, ordinary customers were not allowed on screen. The extras would be arranged to surround the two main actors in a circle, so that the faces of ordinary customers could not be identified. The strategy was for the film crew to move into the stalls with each clump of extras surrounded by the extras, and to film within the formation of the stalls. Although the filming took place at night, the film crew led by the cameraman, the actors, and the extras rehearsed over and over again during the daytime.

Forced termination shooting

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18:00 pm. Filming finally begins. The filming team and the actor team form up and rush into the street between the crowded food stalls. At either end of the line of stalls, the producer, Mr. Shimizu and his team hold up a poster of "Happy Endings" in one hand and a hand microphone in the other and continue to announce, "We are currently filming a movie. Please cooperate with us," they kept announcing. When filming among the general public, it is probably best to keep a low profile, but with this announcement and the bright lights, the film crew was very conspicuous. The film crew is very conspicuous because of the announcements and the bright lights. the film crew and actors were stuck in the middle of a crowd of onlookers. The number of onlookers continued to increase in a snowball fashion, and the circle of people surrounding the film crew grew to a huge size, with onlookers pushing equipment and tables from the food stalls. The crowd of onlookers pushed the equipment and tables of the food stalls. and "Stop filming! Some people were pushed down, and there was a great commotion around the film crew.

Turning to the center of the film crew, each time the director "cuts," the lead actress, Kana, cries so hard that she cannot stand there. Since she cannot stand by herself, Ms. Takeuchi, the production assistant, barely manages to stand with her shoulders lent. Since the scene being filmed did not require a crying performance, Director Iwamatsu was concerned about why she was crying, and asked Ms. Kondo, who was recording the scene, to check, but she said, "She doesn't know either. The director looked puzzled by the answer. Was it because of the anxiety about her performance that had been lingering for a week? We were even more surprised to see Inoue-san, who is playing next to Kana-san, looking even worse. He has the look of a man who is completely possessed by the protagonist, who is on the verge of despair. We are completely overwhelmed by his aura, which we cannot imagine from the usually mild-mannered Mr. Inoue. This aura conveys an atmosphere in which even the staff members are unable to easily speak to him. The combination of the festival's enthusiasm and the Mikawa Eiga Festival's enthusiasm enveloped me, the interviewer, in a state of excitement.

After a while, I notice that the lights of the stalls are gradually going out. The festival seems to be nearing its end. The film crew continues to take pictures with frantic looks on their faces. Due to the problem of onlookers, the shooting was not going as smoothly as they had hoped, and it seemed that they had not even managed to get half of the shots they had planned. The film crew moved toward the food stalls that were still lit and continued filming, but finally all the lights went out and the filming was forced to end.

What to do with the other half of the unfilmed cuts? The staff was at a loss. It seemed as if they would run into a deadlock, but as expected, the Iwamatsu team was different. Immediately, line producer Mr. Nakayama instructed the staff to check festivals throughout Aichi Prefecture to see if there were any festivals where food stalls were lined up in a formation similar to that of this Koromo Shrine. In response, one of the staff members catches wind of a similar arrangement of stalls at a fireworks festival in Okazaki City, Toyota City's neighbor. That festival is to be held a week later. On the spot, I call my acquaintance at the Okazaki city government, and first thing the next morning, instructions fly out to get permission from Okazaki City to photograph the event. As I was covering the event, I was overwhelmed by the speed with which it had come to this point. I was impressed by the speed with which the film was shot, as expected of a film company like Mikawa Films, which had been through a hundred battles to get to this point. When I checked with them later, they told me that they had successfully finished shooting all the shots in Okazaki City a week later.

Find the same festival!

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Awakened heroine

I go to the director to get his comments after the first day of shooting. Director Iwamatsu was concerned about Kana's condition during the shoot and asked her if everything was okay. Then she says with a big smile on her face, "Shooting, it was so much fun! and is in high spirits. She is too excited to stop laughing. Has she been pushed too hard and her heart needle has swung out? Not only the director but also the staff around her were surprised by her unbelievable excitement. It was as if the scene at the rehearsal was a lie. I was later told that after that day, Kana continued to film with her natural guts and dignity. We felt that we had witnessed the moment when the actress Kana Shimizu awakened.
After the equipment was packed up, a late dinner was held for the Mikawa Eiga Team at a family restaurant near the filming location. As we entered the venue, we couldn't help but giggle. The assistant director, a student, was asleep with his hands thrown out in front of him and his face pressed against the table, not even bothering to look at the menu. What's more, he is sitting next to Director Iwamatsu. His collapse, as he collapsed without regard to his surroundings, was a testament to the grandeur of the first day of filming by the Iwamatsu team. I was also quite tired, and had also been suffering from a severe headache all day. When I got home, I found out that I was suffering from heat stroke. My brain had been completely invaded by the heat from the Mikawa Eiga.