THE WARPED FOREST OR DELIRIUM TREMENS
THE WARPED FOREST OR DELIRIUM TREMENS
An Interview with Director Shunichiro Miki
By Marybel Gervais
(Translated by Adam Abouaccar)
How does one describe this film? Frankly, this is the hardest description I’ve had to do. A wacky film from the subconscious of an exuberant mind, and that’s an understatement. The more we sink into the devouring spiral that is The Warped Forest, the harder it is to escape unscathed.
Forget – no, erase – from your memory every every every preconceived notion you have amassed about cinema over the years. This work is entirely unique. I defy anyone to find a comparable movie. Okay, the bizarre first instalment Funky Forest: The First Contact (Naisu no Mori: The First Contact) is the only life preserver one has to cling to. A masturbatory frenzy that borders on alcoholic coma, assembling all the fantasies and ideas that trot about in the corners of an overripe brain. If this sentence is perplexing to you, wait until you see the film.
This dreamlike fable, for those eighteen years or older, will scrape at your neurons that are habitually unused. In a universe unknown to ours, adults try to forget their every-day lives with the help of fruit called kittka. This fruit brings about a state similar to drunkenness. Its configuration, roughly recalling both male and female genitalia, titillates our sexual impulses. With no association between them, a group of three disillusioned men and a trio of young misfits have developed an interest in a rumour that has been around for quite some time. They say it is possible to choose and control your dreams. They also say that if one takes part in this pastime, one becomes damned and will incur great misfortune. The other drawback is that, from what people say, it costs a lot of pocos, this kind of nuts that we store in our navel. The quest of these two groups, though stemming from different motivations, will lead both to try everything there is to try, with little regard for what happens next. The price will not stop at pocos!
A pair of writers is at the head of this jubilant and phantasmagoric fresco, Yuuka Oosumi and the film’s director, Shunichiro Miki. The latter agreed to shed light on this obscure land to help us travel into the annals of The Warped Forest.
First off, this film is not a sequel to NAISU NO MORI, I made this film moreso to showcase all the ideas that I couldn’t fit into NAISU NO MORI.
I envy your fertile imagination. I have the impression that there is no psychological barrier filtering your ideas. How does your creative process work?
Ideas come to me suddenly, so I don’t spend hours thinking about them. However, to ensure that the ideas reflect what I’ve imagined as much as possible, I draw them until I get satisfactory results. I direct a lot of television ads. The more I’m forced to do serious ads, the more I start to have bizarre ideas. The two are definitely linked.
The special effects are crazy and very credible. Is it difficult to steer developers toward the image you have of the creatures, weapons, and other fabulations that pour straight out of your imagination?
I produced a lot of special effects when I was studying art in college. I can therefore put myself in the developers’ shoes and get my ideas across. When something requires a detailed explanation, I simply show them detailed drawings.
Besides the first instalment, this work does not follow a path that has been taken before. How important is it for you to craft a film that is totally unique and unprecedented?
It’s very important to me that I produce works that are original. I’m interested in creating my own works that haven’t been imagined before. I think the spirit of creating new things is very relatable to the Montreal public.
The actors of The Warped Forest give over their body and soul to breathe life into their characters. Was the casting difficult?
No, it was not difficult. I formerly taught at an acting school with Katsuhito Ishii (who’s presenting Smuggler this year at Fantasia). I molded the new actors and actresses into something I could work with. After that, I invited them to come play in my movie (the ones I got along with). When I was writing the script, special attention was paid to each role and they were all written with the actor’s personalities in mind.
How is the atmosphere on the set of such an erratic film?
The film was shot in a friendly and joyful atmosphere. At the same time, in order to make this film, I had to invest 10 years of my personal savings, as it was a private and independent production. I sometimes had anxiety about directing a film of such a large scale.
Would you like to throw yourself into a third instalment of this phantasmagoric saga?
For the moment, I haven’t got any set plans, but it would be nice to make another one. My film this year would probably be categorized as a very manic or bizarre film. But I would also like to make, for example, a big budget science-fiction blockbuster that could be shown in all the megaplexes.
THE WARPED FOREST will have its Canadian Premiere July 29th at 19:10 in the Concordia Hall Theater with director, co-writer and producer Shinichiro Miki and producer Mayumi Miki in attendance. More on the film HERE.