OUTSIDE IN TOKYO JAPANESE
PIERRE SCHOLLER INTERVIEW

Pierre Scholler: Versailles

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Nina , the mother, loves Enzo, her child, and she seems to have the will to raise him, but she ends up leaving him with Damien, in order to get a job and to, well, raise him. Is the working condition for single mothers a problem in France?

No, like Nina, there are not so many among the French women who live like that, but they could be of Morrocan, Algerian or mainly African descent who might have given birth to many kids at quite an early age like in the film. Because they can't make a living, they would have to live on welfare. They may have two or three kids at their age, and there may be problems of them getting rejected by society.
One can only be supported on welfare legally from age twenty-five. So if they are younger, be they women or men, thereís a good possibility that will face such difficulties if they have those problems.

By telling the story of Damien and Enzo, you seemed to have shown a new way of maintaining a family, but they do go back to becoming more like a conventional family. What do you think makes a parent-child relationship?

A parent, from what I felt through the making of this film, is whoever that is around when the child is in need of a parent, unrelated to whether if they are related by blood, be it a father or mother. For example, Damien became a father for Enzo because the child needed one, and Damien just happened to fill that need. When Enzo needed a mother, Damienís fatherís girlfriend became the mother, since she is there to take care of the child. So as far as parents go, itís whoever can help the child grow. As for Nina, she is related by blood, and she leaves him because she needs to do so, but itís not that she forfeits her role as a mother, but returns once again as his mother. So again, it doesnít matter if they are related by blood or not, but the person who can answer the childís call will be the parent, be it mother or father.

So youíre saying whoeverís needed when he/she is needed will be the parent?

It doesnít matter who becomes the father, the mother or a parent. Children have their own requirements, and they do have needs, so itís basically whoever answers that call. The role does not have to be filled in by a physical father/mother, so to speak. For example, there is the woman, who is Damienís fatherís girlfriend, and Enzo becomes attached to her. But that is not because he is attracted to her as his mother, but since his physical mother was not a maternal person, he is attracted to the woman as a first encounter to someone that withholds feminine maternity. Of course there is an aspect of motherhood, but at the same time, because he did not know any other women, even as a child, he found someone that could fill in the gap. In the scene where Enzo grows old enough to be in middle school, his mother in law hands him a letter. He cannot read get himself to read it. When she hands him the letter, although she is not his mother, he needs her to be there, so he hands her back the letter. She herself knows well that she is not his mother. So she hesitates to read the letter. But she chooses to read it because she knows that he needs her to.
Of course we still have the idea of a nuclear family. In any society, the family system of having one mother and one father is falling apart. People meet, parents get divorced, they remarry, so they may have numerous fathers and numerous mothers, and in places like Africa, even the aunt or uncle may raise the child, or different people may take part in the raising, so it doesnít really matter whoís the parent, but who can raise the child with affection.

Even in present day Japan, a class society exists, where poverty has become a huge problem, but in order to prevent from children like Enzo to increase, or to save kids like him, what do you think society can do?

What I wanted to state in my film, was not children like Enzo, nor the class society depicted through Enzo, but the presence of Nina. Through this girl Nina, I wanted to state the injustice that exists in this world, the reality without justice.
Nina is someone who has lived in society without knowing love. The tragic point about her in society is that no one had ever focused on her. Sheís the type of woman that has lived but has not existed in the eyes of others.
When someone is going to give birth to a child, it should be under the name of love. I feel that it has to be. If you are giving birth to a child, why bring him/her out into this world anyway, if it was otherwise. As you mentioned class society, there is wealth being built in certain places. In other words, even with all this wealth in the world, we are living within a social structure where we are not ready to share. This is who we are.

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