• Flash Competition



Natsuka Kusano

Outlining the progression of bereavement, capturing its subtle meandering, is the complicated task that Natsuka Kusano has set herself in Till the End of the Dream. We’re not far from Hiroshima, where Yoshimi lives alone since the death of her partner. To capture the variations of feelings, the filmmaker focuses sensitively on the young woman’s everyday life and the nondescript, hollowed-out landscapes surrounding her. In a few light strokes, this inner turmoil is portrayed with grace and gentleness. Like so many imaginary offerings, the film reproduces the delicacy of a sip of shared tea, or measures both the weight and the pleasure of a few banal words exchanged over a cake shared across the table. In just a few shots, a few snatches of conversation in a sparse, almost whispered tone, we can make out the mourning in progress in a space haunted by the ghostly presence of the loved one. It’s all about presence, remembrance, in this film whose melancholic languor portrays a certain state of being, a certain attention to others, to what happens and to the passing of time. Time that feels suspended, as shown by the dual interpretation of the final parable, on the movements of hope for the return of a past world and its memory. In a conscience – a soul – scarred by loss and doomed to waiting and desolation…and also to what may come.

Nicolas Feodoroff

At the beginning of the film, the main character writes “I went to Hiroshima. But I didn’t find anything”. This sentence might also remind us of Hiroshima, mon amour directed by Alain Resnais in 1959. Was it the starting point for Till The End Of The Dream?

No, it wasn’t. These words are my own personal feeling, as I was given the theme of Hiroshima and visited there but could not find anything.

Till The End Of The Dream speaks about memories, resilience and Hiroshima. How did you develop the script?

The motif of Hiroshima was a given. There is no script for this film, and the structure was developed based on research from the actors and my visit in Hiroshima.

Ghosts live alongside the living in the film. How did come up with this idea?

Whether I myself believe in ghosts or not is another matter, but I believe that “spirits” (in a broad sense) are always around.

Why did you imagine an artist as the main character and how did you cast the actors?

The first thing that came to mind was that I wanted to cast non-professional actors for all the roles. The artist who plays the main character has been in my short films before.

I noticed your light treatment of the film’s subject. You explore very dark themes however. Can you go into some detail on your use of contrast within the film?

I have been making film on the theme of “absence”. Although it may go against that, lightness and humor are always important to me in all my works.

Is that why the staging is uncluttered, with no music, mostly still shots? Can you expand on that?

That’s because we were short of time and budget. That’s all. However, I also think that it is very difficult to put music to a short film.

How can we interpret the title “Till The End Of The Dream“?

It’s up to you. I got this from the title of an album by one of my favorite artists. Memories are like dreams, and sometimes memories that I don’t remember come to me in my dreams.

Interview by Olivier Pierre

  • Flash Competition

Technical sheet

Japan / 2023 / 24’

Cast: Yoshimi Saito, Takashi Kuraya, Naoko Sumimoto

Production: Natsuka Kusano (Marebito Theater Company)