by writer/director Edson Oda
When I wrote Will, the protagonist of this movie, I was inspired by an uncle of mine who I barely met.
His name was Antonio Katsuji and he loved movies.
I think, at some point in his life, movie theaters were one of those very few places in the world where he felt truly happy and safe. He lived in Brazil, but somehow, he knew Hollywood better than I do right now. He loved Hollywood as a rare friend who would just sit with him and listen to him.
My mom sent me some of his drawings he made when he was 12. Beautiful drawings of movie posters he adored—true pieces of art, crafted with a level of detail that I rarely see, even from professional illustrators. He LOVED cinema. He would also chase down flyers of the movies he watched in the theaters, like a pirate chases gold. He would collect them as if there was nothing more valuable in the whole world.
My uncle took his own life when he was 50.
I was 12 at the time—I couldn’t cry for him. I didn’t have a strong connection with him and, also, deep inside, I thought he was a loser. A failure. I thought he wasn’t strong enough to survive this world.
I didn’t want to end up like him, so I think I just kept my distance from what he represented.
That changed when, at a difficult point of my life, I started going through feelings and emotions that, I believe, were very similar to the feelings and emotions that my uncle went through.
I felt weak. And scared. And ashamed.
But I also felt more empathy for my uncle. Actually, it was the first time I felt truly connected to him. Because I could finally understand what he went through. I didn’t judge him at this time. In fact, I realized how strong he was for dealing with it for decades.
Nine Days comes from that feeling. From that feeling of fear and weakness. But also from a feeling of empathy, love and hope that I and my uncle shared.
Yes, this movie should be experienced in the movie theaters because of the cinematic experience. But there’s also something else about cinemas that I can’t even explain. I just… feel it.
My uncle also felt it.
And I’m pretty sure you feel it too.
Posted July 26, 2021