The true story of a woman living undetected in a stranger’s apartment
London-based director Nick Norman-Butler talks about his filmic retelling of a Japanese news story about a homeless woman in Fukuoka who ‘shared’ an apartment with a wealthy businessman without his knowledge… for over a year:
“I wanted to explore the story’s themes of inequality and social isolation, so took an experimental approach to ask several questions: why did the woman choose this man’s apartment? How did she manage to remain undetected on a daily basis? Who was the male owner of the flat and did he know she was there all along, but pretended to believe otherwise?
“Who was the male owner of the flat and did he know she was there all along?”
“For me, this last point is the most interesting. The two characters in Tomoko could live well together: there is enough space in the apartment and they are both alone, but their fear of each other prevents them from connecting, even under such close proximity.”