Interview of Didier Deleskiewicz by Neo Kerberos, March 2007.
Neo Kerberos : When began your career as a director ?
Didier Deleskiewicz : It started 1981 when I signed my first professional contract.
This adventure actually started 15 years ago when I was a child, I was extremely keen for photography.
Later I used my "talents" in a popular cultural association in Poitou where I realized some non professional vids, it was Super 8; then on the first VHS recorder (only black and white) then color 16mm for my first short movie.
At the same time as I studied sociology, I worked on light for all kinds of concerts, including classical music's ones.
1976 after I succeeded my contests, I went in a national cinema school (now known as FEMIS), here I learned what is Doing a movie.
As I came out of the school I tried an assistant career, so I worked for TV but less than one year because I quickly wrote my own project.
I left for West Berlin because I Had contacts I met in school and here I realized my first 52 minutes-movie for a french channel (Antenne 2) It was called "Rock à Berlin", a fic-doc about semi professional bands, a portrait of "no future" movement in this so particular place for the time.
So this is how all started...
N K : How did you know X Japan ?
D D : Japan, my first step in were 1985.
It was the big Tsukuba expo on new technologies.
A kind of flash...
A real revelation.
On my return, I noted that the media in France were at the dying point, I then asked for a grant for Japan and on my file, I obtained the Lavoisier Grant and also a help of Monbusho (Japanese Culture's Ministry) ; I stayed there almost three years, from 86 to 88.
I met people in japanese cinema, in particular young realisators as Hayashi Kaizo who realized a wonderful videoclip for "Sennen comets" a band produced by Sony records.
This producer, who was known as "Harry", lived near my home in Kagurazaka, we became friends and still have contact when I went back to France.
1989 Harry called me for work with Yoshiki, He was in spleen era and wasn't really in phase with the others X' members.
Fortunally I had a project in Japan with the French TV channel "M6" and I returned there earlier, 1989, to realize a documentary about Japanese cinema ; I met Yoshiki for the first time in Shibuya, I think there was "bad people" around him, only interested in his Money.
Harry didn't work at this time on the same project as the past, and I met a new producer, independant guy, I don't remember his name, he was particulary unpleasant.
He reminds me more as a Yakuza than a producer.
Actually I had the feeling that this band was more shaped by Sony than by its members, but perhaps I think wrong...
I didn't discuss about this with Harry, but next time I'll do.
N K : Did you work before with X Japan or "Rose of Pain" video clip was the first time ?
D D : No, I never worked with X Japan, neither with Yoshiki.
N K : Was the idea of realizing a PV in France yours or Yoshiki's ?
D D : He wished to come getting rest in France, just wanting to work in peace.
That's the reason why he asked me was to find a place to live, because He didn't want to stay in such an inpersonal place as an Hotel.
Netherthless he asked also for a piano in this place, in order to work to his compositions in progress.
I asked my friends who could let him an appartment for this.
A producer, who was a friend of mine, and his singer girlfriend could give me this, because they spent holidays at this time, but Yoshiki changed the date and I've finally had to find another one. 1
I also rented a piano because the appartment didn't have one.
The idea of a PV came only a few days before Yoshiki's arrival, at the origin the purpose was only to film Yoshiki in parisian places for an upcoming "stock shots" promo.
It's in Paris that Yoshiki talked about castles and the videos would be used for "Rose of Pain" clip, here there was some difficulties because the song wasn't written already and he only had some ideas.
N K : Talk us about videos outside Paris and Why you chose La Ferté Milon village.
D D : For castles it was difficult because we hadn't much time and we needed to go to places not too far from Paris, La Ferté Milon is a nice village, has an easy access and I wanted something "exotic", for Japanese people of course.
N K : How many time did Yoshiki stay in Paris and how long was the recording session ?
D D : Two weeks in Paris, I wanted to show him a different Paris than a tourist would be going to see.
We were near Belleville and he loved the popular places, his favorite restaurant was "Chez Marianne" near the "Rue des Rosiers".
The recording session lasted two or three days.
N K : Yoshiki is well known as a perfectionnist artist, how was he during the recording sessions ?
D D : He was pleasant, but I think he didn't know exactly what to do, he was disappointed by this world so far away from his one, at the same time he didn't seem to be affected because he was very nice with everyone.
Exept the morning he could not be ready in time, it also took some time to prepare his hair, but otherwise everything was fine .
He trusted me and was not very demanding, it was rather the reverse.
I'm quite a perfectionist and I was very frustrated because I knew I would not do the editing of this film, only images in France.
It was therefore turned to the blind, and as Yoshiki remained unclear, it is the least we can say about the content of the song and the meaning of his words, I struggled to provide a scenes cutting and a work plan ...
And of course no storyboard.
For if for phrases in English it's understandable (not sure...), in Japanese I can tell you that it's very ambiguous, and the meaning of sentences is very obscure.
Even if it is not, Yoshiki often practiced autism .
As a result, he has always cultivated ambiguity, his personality is rather odd, it have a very androgynous look.
The rest is the same, we can not expect that the texts of his songs are very clear or at least express a Cartesian view of the World.
It is quite incapable to do it ...
So as I told you when we worked on this movie clip, the text of the song "Rose of Pain" was not completed, he expressed to me very hazy ideas.
At the same time, I think the truth (now that I know the song) is he wasn't capable of assuming what he meant.
Expression of impotence without doubt (that's what I imagine), in fact initially there was a woman in this text. "She" ...
But we had agreed to say that if we decided to incarnate her on the video, it would be a very fleeting vision, like a ghost (Obake Japanese) that appear in the ruins of the castle and leave traces of its path. 2
These traces are the roses of course.
So I did not carry out the assembly of this clip, but once back in Japan, I think it's his staff who decided for him that he needed to erase the image of women in there.
Especially if he had come to France to turn it, it was a white woman and not a Japanese.
We chose, at his request, a very gorgeous girl to embody the character, she had a fairly large breasts, it was intended.
She wore a pink dress style seventeenth century and her face had a very white makeup as a ghost with red lips very dark, almost black.
In the clip, she does not appear and yet it is not me who invented it, I only do the whishes of Yoshiki during the filming sequences with the girl who appeared in reverse angle of Yoshiki, never in the same plane simultaneously, thus leaving to the editor to make the sequences rhythm.
She appeared and disappeared around a bend in the castle wall and could even disappear through walls, classic plans that I shot.
Good but this is without doubt that the return to Tokyo was very different, and Yoshiki decided to erase these scenes, for reasons I can understand: too far from the image he wanted to give of himself so .
N K : You have seen my website, I'm looking for several years the medieval fortress that has served the inner planes, do you remember where you were filmed these sequences? 3
D D : I am not able to find the exact location on a map, but without taking risks, I can assure you he is in the periphery of the one you are perfectly identified, ie a ruin in a village in a perimeter of less than 25 km of La Ferté Milon...
N K : Outside of the clip from "Rose of Pain", have you had other contacts later with Yoshiki?
D D : The last time I saw Yoshiki was in 1995, if I well remember .
We spent the evening together and he said to my camera a few informal questions rather before or after a big concert he had done in the large auditorium with NHK Symphony Orchestra.
Unfortunately, I do not know what happened to the videotape of this interview which, anyway, was denied at the time by the French TV, because like now, it ignored the Japanese artists.
Here, in France we have the impression that the phenomenon and interest granted to him is new, but I do not know what is the size of this movement and the number of fans of this kind of music.
N K : Have you had the opportunity to meet other members of X Japan while you were in Japan?
N K : Mr. Deleskiewicz on my behalf and that of all the X Japan fans who have read with passion, thank you very much for your time you spent writing this interview, and the kindness you have shared in all emails we have exchanged.
English translation by Policenauts.
* 1 : The balcony of this appartment is visible in the beginning of the PV. Click here.
* 2 : You can see the silhouette of the girl in this picture. Click here.
* 3 : Since, I found the locations. Click here.