Im Zuge des ersten Porn Film Festivals in Wien, das vom 1. bis 4. März 2018 stattfindet, wird neben etlichen anderen Filmen zum Thema Sex auch der Streifen „Berlin Drifters“ gezeigt. Der Film vom japanischen Regisseur und Schauspieler Koichi Imaizumi wird am Samstag, dem 3. März um 21:00 Uhr im Fortuna Kino im 10. Bezirk gezeigt.

Zum Inhalt: Lyota aus Japan kommt nach Berlin, um dort seine Internetbekanntschaft zu treffen. Angekommen in der deutschen Hauptstadt wirft ihn der Mann jedoch schon nach einer gemeinsamen Nacht auf die Straße. So streift Lyota durch die Berliner Nacht und trifft in der nächtlichen Sex- und Party-Szene auf Koichi. Dieser lässt den Herumstreifenden in seine Wohnung und langsam beginnt sich eine Beziehung zwischen den beiden einsamen Männern zu entwickeln.

 

Wo das noch alles hinführt? Seht euch am besten selbst die schöne Ballade voller Sex und Schmerz am Porn Film Festival Vienna an. Einen kleinen Vorgeschmack können wir euch aber noch geben. Wir haben uns im Vorfeld mit Editor und Mit-Produzent Hiroki Iwasa und Regisseur Koichi Imaizumi über ihren Film unterhalten und konnten den beiden einige Fragen stellen.

 



Is “Berlin Drifters“ your first movie about sex, porn and gay love?
Imaizumi: It’s not the first. From the beginning of my filmmaking (in 1999), “Gay love and sex” is my consistent theme. And I think that sex scenes are indispensable element to draw identity and love as gay, so all of my works contain sexual expression. However, I think my initial works are not “porn”. Since we’re going to show them in Japan first, we were so careful not to fail to pass censorship. Specifically, until my past film “Hatsu-koi (First Love)” in 2007, I have been trying not to shoot genitalia. After “The Family Complete” in 2010, I’m conscious that my works are “gay porn film”.

 

What was your inspiration for directing the movie? Any personal experiences?
Imaizumi: One reason is that I’ve always wanted to play a role like the Bertolucci’s “Last Tango in Paris” someday because I love the film so much. I would like to act as an actor rather than as a director. Because my career started as a pornographic actor since 1990, not a director. And I also felt strongly that I had to play now, after 50 years old. And the stage is in Berlin. I had an image from the beginning that the Japanese is standing alone in the city of Berlin. The reason why it’s not in Paris is because Berlin is a special city for me. Secondly, I wanted to work with Gengoroh Tegame, who is a leading gay erotic artist in Japan (the script for the film). But I didn’t try to visualize his manga (comic book) work as it is. Characters appearing in his work look quite different from me, unfortunately there is no role for me. Aside from myself, I don’t have an idea that other actors also can do. So I proceeded to talk about making an original script. I told him the fragmentary image I wanted to do, he fleshed it and designed it as one story. Specifically, I presented him that I wanted that “stage is in Berlin”, “main actors are Lyota Majima and me”, “same sex marriage”, “HIV/AIDS” and “Smartphones” as important elements. So it does not mean that I came up with this story from a personal experience. Although it is totally fictional, if you do appear on your own in a movie that you supervise, the personal part may unintentionally come out. I’ve appeared in more than 100 movies so far but I guess this movie has become the work that shows itself the most. Even though I did not feel like that before.

 

How did it come that you are going to show “Berlin Drifters“ at the Porn Film Festival Vienna?
Iwasa: When we had screenings at the Berlin Porn film festival in 2017, we met the director of Porn Film Festival Vienna. He told us that he will do porn film festival in Vienna. So we submitted the film to the festival.

 

How did the idea of the young and lost man Ryota come to your mind?
Imaizumi: It’s daily observation. As well as friends or acquaintances, people who meet in gay bars or club events, etc., always keep an antenna on the remarks and actions of those who self-name young LGBT activists who have appeared on the table in the last couple of years. Among them, there is a strong interest in what I don’t understand, what I can’t understand, what I can’t sympathize with. I was thinking about what would happen if I confronted myself rather than denying it. Ryota is one example. Even a type of character that I don’t want to get involved in my private life, is welcome in the movie. I played my role as a script but the feelings I didn’t anticipate raised up several times, it was an interesting experience. However, I think that Ryota is not a special person. These people are many regardless of age. We must accept the fact and coexist.

 

Do you think that – with all the dating apps we have nowadays – this can happen to a lot more people?
Iwasa: I think it will happen more often. Since dating apps show us a huge showcase of “nomination for love affairs”, some people may act more easily by reduced psychological hurdles. Of course it is not because of apps alone, the cost of overseas travel has been lowered by LCC, Airbnb, etc., are also a factor.
Imaizumi: For example, I think that dating apps benefit people living in rural areas where the place of real meeting is limited, or closets who can’t go to such places. However, there are also disadvantages. Filtering in advance with profile pictures, age, nationality and occupation, top or bottom, etc. eventually results in loss of eyes for people. Then he will have excessive illusions (expectations) next time for the candidate remaining in that sift. It is a “lover” to supplement his identity and a pseudo-love affair. It is a good tool to quickly find people who want to have sex right now but it is expedient to think that “partners” can be found easily by expanding the scope to foreign countries. Depending on how you use it, it is very dangerous and It reduces the ability to think because of its ease of use. I think that various troubles have already occurred all over the world. Of course, I also know that many people got happy.

 

You work with porn film and gay related scenes – have you ever received any negative reactions or some hate about you or your work?
Imaizumi: Yes I have. Although it is gay work, there is not much experience negatively reacted but I feel that “pornography” are not treated justly at film festivals or interviews. There is such a discriminatory glance but I don’t react excessively to it. I want to make gay film, and it is unbelievable that sexual expression is included in it. In addition, I’m proud that I’m a porn actor even after I’m 50 years old.

 

Have you ever experienced something like this in real life? Like falling in love with someone over the Internet/dating apps or travelling to the other side of the world for someone you barely know?
Iwasa: (Unfortunately, I should say) I haven’t.
Imaizumi: No I haven’t. I have never looked for an encounter online and I don’t feel the necessity either. I think that it is important to meet and talk to each other (such as attending screenings at film festivals). Also, even if I’m in a foreign country or a gay bar and I found someone is “cute” or even if I had sex with him, I can’t call it a romance. It is more important to make friends who can associate longer than to make lovers. So, I want to make friends as much as possible overseas.

 

Do your parents/friends know what you are producing and what do they think about it?
Imaizumi: I never hid the work. My parents know that I appear in or make movies but they don’t know what kind of movies I’m making. I have never been told to watch it with them, nor have I shown it to them. However, they don’t go to cheer but I feel that they acknowledge my way of life. I had shooting at my parents’ house in my previous film and I also cast them in “Berlin Drifters”.
Iwasa: My parents and most of my friends know about my producing. Regarding my parents, I gave them a DVD of our film (not so explicit one) with a letter where I told them that I’m gay. My mother sent me a message like “It’s alright” after she watched it.

 

What are your plans for your stay in Vienna?
Imaizumi & Iwasa: We may go to some sightseeing spots but we think it would be better to spend time in places where local people usually go. Also, we would like to know the situation of Viennese gay scenes, situation of HIV and gay marriage in Austria. Anyway, we’re looking forward to visiting the city for the first time.

 

Bild Header: “Berlin Drifters” Youtube Screenshot
Interview: Koichi Imaizumi (Director, Actor), Hiroki Iwasa (Music, Co-producer)