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Guy Moshe

Israel-born, US based director Guy Moshe talks about his film Bunraku, which is screening in Toronto’s Midnight Madness section.

Guy Moshe, the Israel-born, US-based director of Bunraku, has a lot to say about film in 2010:  “Cinema has been out there for over 100 years now, and when I go I want to see something original. Something fresh needs to happen for me to be fully satisfied.” So where does that leave Bunraku, a movie that has been called “cirque-de-soleil meets mixed martial arts”? Screen sat down with Moshe to talk about the Midnight Madness buzz title (which is being sold by IM Global).

The market is saturated with so many violent, gun-centric movies.  With guns being banned as one of the film’s major themes, was Bunraku a statement against the ‘gun-fu’ genre?

It wasn’t a statement against it; it’s simply a different approach to it. A lot of these movies exploit [violence], but don’t acknowledge it.

Then would you call Bunraku satirical?

It’s a circus ride into man’s fascination with violence. There’s an element in the film - very subtle, some people get it, some don’t - where the joke is on you, but the movie is about a serious topic at the end of the day. We, as an audience, adore gratuitous violence when it’s being put on screen. Where is that coming from? To me, it has to do with human nature more than anything As the title indicates, Bunraku was inspired by bunraku plays from Japan [centuries-old puppet theatre]. Any play in particular?

Not any specific stage play, but the art of Japanese puppetry as a technique of storytelling. Chikamatsu Monzaemon, one of the premier Japanese playwrights for bunraku theatre, is like the equivalent of Shakespeare in Japan.

Will you ever consider staging this as a play?

It’s weird how your career takes on you different paths. I would love to try and do a musical out of this. I’d be very happy to do something on stage.

There’s a line in the movie about there being a million ways to tell this story. How else could you have done it?

The other way that would be interesting for me would be in the opposite treatment; where the universe is more realistic. What I find interesting in this film, to me, is that all the action is in front of the camera, as hyper-choreographed and unrealistic as it may be, they were actually doing all that in front of the camera. If I ever get to make another Bunraku I’ll probably change it up.

What’s next for Guy Moshe?

I have a script I completed. It’s not a fighting movie, it’s a love story set against the world of espionage…in Casablanca and Morocco. It would be stylised, but not to the degree that Bunraku is.

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