The Cannes Film Festival kicks off for the 69th time today. It’s arguably the most prestigious film festival in the world and certainly one of the most glamorous. Naomi Kawase, a Japanese filmmaker, has an impressive history at the festival. Apart from premiering a number of her films at Cannes, in 1997, she became the youngest winner of the “Caméra d’Or” (Best New Director) award, and in 2013, served as a member of the main competition jury and — last year — acted as the president of the jury for the short film category.
She also gave a talk at TEDxTokyo in 2012 about the power of cinema.
When Kawase was an infant, her parents separated; she was eventually adopted and raised by her great aunt and uncle, she says in her talk, given in Japanese and translated into English. As a result, she often thought about her life’s purpose. “I always wondered, ‘Why am I here? What is the purpose of my life?’” she says. “Then, film came into my life, making a sound like, ‘rattle, rattle, rattle,’ — recording and memorizing what we see.”
For Kawase, film is a kind of time machine capable of taking us back to the past.
“Time is passing through everybody at the same speed, ticking one second at a time,” she says. “The time that has passed will never come back again, while each clip of a film records every second and enables us to rewind time.”
Check out her entire talk below: