Imaizumi Koichi is okay with the controversial nature of his film

After chatting with Japanese filmmaker Imaizumi Koichi about his film The
Family Complete
, one could be forgiven for having the distinct impression that
he was more interested in audience reactions than having any real message to impart
from it. But I suppose with its explicit sexual content and its incestuous storyline,
that perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Imaizumi Koichi and Iwasa HirokiKoichi
(pictured on the left with the film's producer Iwasa Hiroki), who identifies as
gay, was an actor in the straight Japanese porn industry until about six or seven
years ago. “It wasn’t my intention to stop being in the porn industry,” he said
through the help of an interpreter. “It was that the offers just stopped coming.”
It was about this time that he started to make his own movies with The Family
Complete
now his fifth film which includes two shorts and two other features,
Naughty Boys in 2005 and First Love in 2007.

For Koichi he says that he had three things he wanted from this latest movie
which saw the final edit only just completed earlier this year. “First I wanted
to make a gay film,” he said. “There was also a second theme of viewing Japanese
culture from the perspective of foreigners, and then also to look at the blood family.”

Despite talking of themes in his movie though, Koichi had a difficult time pointing
to any real message that he hoped audiences might take away after seeing his movie.
“Audiences might totally reject my film but I will be very curious to know what
their reactions would be.”

Having now screened the film in a number of countries in South East Asia, Koichi
is beginning to get a sense of those audience reactions.

“In the past we have shown the film at gay and lesbian festivals but Hong Kong
and Korea are not gay and lesbian,” he said. “I was anxious to see the reaction
of the audiences there. There were many more females and heterosexuals [than the
gay and lesbian festivals] and they were surprisingly quite appreciative.”

For Koichi though, the Vancouver International Film Festival is an entirely different
matter as it is the first time that the film will play to a North American audience.
“To be honest, since this is the premiere of the film in North American I am very
anxious,” he said. But when pressed to talk about what he hopes North American audiences
to take away from his film, again Koichi was more interested in how audiences will
react.

“That is a very typical question I get,” said Kocihi with a smile. “There is
a heavier emphasis on what the audience reaction is then anything I can tell them
to see”.

Whether Koichi receives the reaction he hopes to or not, there is one thing for
certain – The Family Complete will be controversial. And he seems to be
okay with that.

The
Family Complete (Kazoku Complete)

Can there be such a thing as an all-male family? A mysterious virus which stimulates
man-on-man sex strikes the Kanba family on the day a man dressed as a giant cat
rapes Grandpa. Porn industry graduate Imaizumi Koichi offers a surreal and provocative
vision of gay life. For adults only.

Tue, Oct 5th 9:30pm Pacific Cinematheque
Wed, Oct 6th 3:45pm Pacific Cinematheque

Director: Imaizumi Koichi | Country: Japan | 106 min

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