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HomeMoviesWim Wenders on his Oscar-nominated film 'Perfect Days' : NPR

Wim Wenders on his Oscar-nominated film ‘Perfect Days’ : NPR


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NPR’s Scott Simon talks to the German movie director Wim Wenders about his new, Oscar-nominated movie. “Excellent Days” is a narrative a couple of cultured Japanese bathroom cleaner in Tokyo.


We see quite a bit within the lifetime of a person named Hirayama. He is brushing his tooth, clipping his mustache, spraying his houseplants. We see his futon, his books and the cassettes of traditional rock that he turns up driving to work in an orange Tokyo Dome.


THE ANIMALS: (Singing) There’s a home in New Orleans.

SIMON: Hirayama’s work – he cleans bathrooms in Tokyo and with ability and a spotlight to element, which we see, too. Hirayama is busy. Is he completely happy? Is he lonely? What retains him going? Life is within the particulars. “Excellent Days” is the most recent movie from Wim Wenders. It stars Koji Yakusho and is nominated for greatest worldwide characteristic movie at this 12 months’s Academy Awards. Wim Wenders, the acclaimed worldwide filmmaker, joins us now from Los Angeles. Mr. Wenders, thanks a lot for being with us.

WIM WENDERS: Good morning, Scott. I am completely happy to be with you.

SIMON: I collect the movie started in your thoughts whenever you have been invited to look at the Tokyo Bathroom Undertaking?

WENDERS: Sure. They referred to as me as a result of they knew I like Tokyo and structure. And it simply so occurred that 15 nice architects, who usually construct museums and banks and high-rises, constructed the smallest attainable unit for an architect, which is a public bathroom. Every of them is totally different. They’re like little marvels of bathrooms. And I used to be . So I adopted the invitation and appeared on the bathrooms and favored them however felt it wasn’t actually price making 4 brief documentaries on the architects and their bathrooms.

Alternatively, it was price taking a look at Tokyo at that exact time in life as a result of it was the primary second when the individuals of Tokyo got here again from – after the longest lockdown of two years. And I like the best way that occurred. I like the best way they took possession of their metropolis in such a civilized, pleasant, cautious means. In order it was an open invitation, I used to be alleged to be impressed. I mentioned, the entire state of affairs right here does encourage me. I like these bathrooms, however I’d relatively inform a narrative. And I might think about a narrative a couple of caretaker of those bathrooms that speaks in regards to the love for little issues. And every thing that I like about Japan might type of come into this film. All we’d like is an effective script and an ideal actor. And that turned the start of “Excellent Days.”

SIMON: Hirayama has a younger colleague who tells him at one level, do not clear so laborious. It’ll get soiled once more anyway.

WENDERS: Is not he proper? That is what all people would say. However Hirayama – I imply, he simply appears to be like at him. He would not even have a solution for him as a result of, in fact, his complete ethos is to do it pretty much as good as he can. He is a craftsman. And each Japanese craftsman – his ambition is to do it every day, no matter it’s. And even when he is doing the identical half, each half is exclusive and must be one of the best.

SIMON: What drives him?

WENDERS: Nicely, he likes to be of service. And he likes his job. And he loves the encompassing as a result of these bathrooms are all in parks, and there is timber, and there is gentle. And he loves timber. His nice ardour in life are timber, and he loves the sunshine. And he takes photos of timber and the sunshine flowing by them and casting shadows on the ground. And it is a very Japanese factor.

He is truly a contented man. He is doing every thing he likes. He listens to his music. Within the night, he reads a ebook. He goes to the general public tub as a result of his modest condominium would not have a rest room. And he is amazingly content material with every thing he does and with every thing he has.

SIMON: I will sound like an actual American now. In America, you might be – , you are a bathroom cleaner. You are a filmmaker. You’re what you do. What we perceive with Hirayama is he is 100 various things and a bathroom cleaner.

WENDERS: Yeah. Precisely. And I believe that is the little miracle of Hirayama and the contagiousness of his work and of his perspective. He’s far more than you assume at first. You see him work cleansing bathrooms, and so that you simply scale back his job to being a bathroom cleaner. However slowly, you understand the richness of his life, and also you understand that cleansing a bathroom is a unusually metaphoric job. It does have a unique connotation in Japan. I imply, there are tales of massive firms going downhill and doing unhealthy, after which the CEO, someday, was seen by his crew – he is cleansing the bathroom. And from there on, it went up and have become one of many biggest success tales in Japan. Bathroom cleansing is a legendary job.

SIMON: Exceptional efficiency, I assumed, by Koji Yakusho. Am I losing time or psychological effort if I discover myself questioning, Hirayama looks as if he is been damaged sooner or later? Did he have a failed marriage? Did – is he a widower? Did he have a consuming downside? All or any of that?

WENDERS: Nicely, I did write the biography for him as a result of, in fact, as an actor, Koji Yakusho needed to know, how did you think about he turned a bathroom cleaner? What was I doing earlier than? So I wrote that biography for him. And he was completely happy and favored it. And sure, he was a businessman. And sure, he was profitable. And sure, he was married after which divorced. And sure, there was alcohol. However we felt we did not actually should spill it out within the movie. And really, we felt increasingly it was good if the viewers needed to fill it in and needed to think about what he was, and that makes them extra concerned. And I might let you know what the biography was, however then once more, it would not assist the film.

SIMON: You are the well-known Wim Wenders, however did the producer ever say to you, look. If you are going to make a bathroom cleaner the star of the movie, you higher additionally make him a undercover agent or some form of superhero?

WENDERS: Nicely, that may be the American model of right here. Yeah, and within the American model, there can be one other plot. There can be one other thriller. And you’d get all the small print of his life. And you’d slowly perceive what broke him. However it is a Japanese movie directed by a German director, and we did not really feel the necessity to have a spy story or no matter lurked behind or tragedy or no matter. So we simply take the person. And he is so particular that I believe he did carry the film, and that exhibits additionally the viewers response to him. They love him, they usually assume he’s a tremendous instance of anyone main his life in a different way, consciously differently. And that may be a little intoxicating, I need to say.

SIMON: Wim Wenders. His new movie, “Excellent Days” – in theaters now. Mr. Wenders, thanks a lot.

WENDERS: Thanks a lot, Scott. And I hope you may have a stunning remainder of the day.


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NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content will not be in its ultimate kind and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability could fluctuate. The authoritative document of NPR’s programming is the audio document.


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