Many young people may write a letter to express their love when they have a crush on somebody. However, for famous Japanese director Shunji Iwai, 55, love letters are for more than just showing affection; they’re about recalling youth and beauty.
Japanese director Shunji Iwai is known for his simple yet beautiful scenes. CFP
Recently, a poster for Iwai’s new film Last Letter, which will come out in Chinese cinemas on Nov 11, was unveiled. It features Iwai, Chinese actress Zhou Xun, and Hong Kong producer Peter Chan. In the poster, the three stand by an ocean as they look off into the distance. It seems to be a tribute to Iwai’s previous works, as it brings back the memory of the sad woman watching the blue sky from his classic 1995 film Love Letter, the Global Times noted.
The two movies are both about exchanging letters that reveal a simple but moving love story about a woman, who looks back on the past as she tries to get on with her life.
Although many characters in his movies learn to move on, Iwai himself loves to hold on to the past. The scenes in his movies mainly come from his own memories.
Take Love Letter for example: the female protagonist Hiroko Watanabe lies in the snow and doesn’t say a word in the first two minutes of the film. This beautiful scene instantly became an iconic image for literary films. Iwai got the inspiration when he saw a girl crying alone in the winter during a car journey. Indeed, many scenes in his movies are “a comprehensive expression of what I have experienced in my past life,” Iwai told BBC News.
Besides being a film director, screenwriter and novelist, Iwai is also a composer. He began to study the piano by himself when he was at college. “His music is light and pure, much similar to his soft-spoken personality,” Shenzhen Daily reported.
“Whatever I create, the only difference is the artistic form and my conception of the world is the same … Something that cannot be bought with money is the most important, such as a person’s growth, which relies on day-to-day effort,” Iwai told Shenzhen Daily.