Interview: ‘Perfect Revolution' at Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema on April 11, 2018

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CHICAGO – Japan is up for this week’s feature in Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC) series… and what a great film it is. “Perfect Revolution,’ directed by Junpei Matsumoto, is about handicaps… both physical and mental. The film features Japanese actors Lily Franky and Nana Seino, in a odd coupling that’s a relationship experience. The film will be presented on Wednesday, April 11th, at the AMC River East 21 in Chicago, with director Matumoto San appearing at the screening. For more details, click here.

“Perfect Revolution” is part of Season Six of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema, which features a diverse line-up of films, with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, India and Hong Kong all represented for the Spring of 2018, all with English subtitles. Screenings occur at the AMC River East 21 in downtown Chicago, with other various locations for special events and a number of free screenings. APUC is curated by founder and film programming veteran Sophia Wong Boccio.

Lily Franky as Kuma and Nana Seino as Ryoko in ‘Perfect Revolution,’ directed by Junpei Matsumoto
Photo credit:

“Perfect Revolution” is based on a true story, as Kuma (Franky) is a wheelchair-bound handicapped author, who specializes in writing about his sex life. Ryoko (Seino) appears at one of his book signings, and signs on for a relationship with the author as well. spoke (through an interpreter) to director Junpei Matumoto about the themes of the film, and what he learned creating it. The role of Ryoko required a flamboyant and fiery performance. What did actress Nana Seino do in the audition for the film that won her the part?

Jumpei Matumoto: I had her in mind all along, she didn’t audition for the part, I gave it to her. The film is based on Kumashino, a real handicapped journalist, and he did have a girlfriend who Ryoko is based on. I actually interacted with them before they broke up, and got a good image that brought Ryoko to life.

When I thought of the character, I thought of Nana Seino. I liked what she had brought to her previous roles and the directors she worked with – even though I’d never met her – and I had an instinct that she could do the part as I created it. What specific physical elements did Lily Franky do to prepare him to portray Kuma, and more importantly what do you think was his emotional connection to Kuma?

Matumoto: In developing the film, I developed a relationship with Kumashino, the person who I based Kuma on. He knew Lily Franky and recommended him to me. Again, there was no audition, I gave the role to Franky. He is an actor, screenwriter and began his career as an illustrator. His eye is precise for details, and he applied that to Kuma’s physical and emotional state when he interpreted the character. Also Franky had known the actual Kumashino for many years prior to portraying him. You portray mental and physical handicaps in the film. In your research, which one of those handicaps do you believe tortures the afflicted person the most and why?

Matumoto: I find this question difficult to answer, having been lucky enough not to experience either handicap, but I did do a lot of research and met a lot of both mentally and physically handicapped people. The Japanese society is stressful, and everyone has a form of mental pressure. I wanted Ryoko to represent that and have the audience relate to it, so I guess in the end I’d say a mental handicap is more difficult. The Japanese media is different in ways that I cannot understand. What were you saying about the media in their insensitivity toward the couple, especially at the hospital after Ryoko attempted suicide in the film?

Matumoto: I took an overall sarcastic view of the media, especially because of that insensitivity you talked about. The situation and attitudes that were depicted in the film are normal for Japanese media, and I just don’t think it’s right. Recently, the media is being influenced, and even partially controlled, by the Japanese government… I also applied that characteristic to the media characters.

Director Junpei Matsumoto in Chicago for ‘Perfect Revolution’
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald for In writing, researching and directing this film, doesn’t the category of a making a movie come under the banner of a ‘Perfect Revolution’? How are filmmakers, in your view, revolutionaries?

Matumoto: Well, the real Kumashino and his girlfriend always were using the term ‘revolution’ to describe their relationship, even though they were more imperfect than perfect. [laughs] ‘Perfect Revolution’ is an ironic title, based on my experiences with the real couple.

I don’t consider myself a ‘revolutionary’ filmmaker, as described in the title, because nobody is perfect. Whatever is imperfect in me is what I’m trying to overcome in making a film, to create that perfect vision… the ‘revolution’ is in the making of the film. Woody Allen once said, ‘the reason we create art is that we can’t get it right in real life.’ What do you believe you got ‘right’ in this film, that perhaps we cannot grasp in our reality?

Matumoto: I can only speak about that in terms of reality versus the movie. The real Kumashino and Kuma from the film both had a break-up. In the film, Kuma wanted to change himself, in real life Kumashino just went back to how he was before, without the introspection. I think that happens much more in reality than what happened in the movie… that’s just how life is.

Season Six of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema series continues with the Midwest premiere of “Perfect Revolution” on Wednesday, April 11th, 2018 (7pm), at the AMC River East 21, 322 East Illinois, Chicago. For the complete overview and schedule of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema series for Season Six, click here. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2018 Patrick McDonald,

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