Alex shares distressing thoughts about life to a girl he is smitten with, Marion; his ideas reveal the greater truth of their birth.

PRELUDE a short romance drama, is the personification of a sperm falling in love with an egg. Through a series of character vignettes and global imagery, micro and macro blend into a beautiful metaphor of our struggle, similarities, and interconnectedness as a human race. So much to unravel in Tsubasa Matsumoto latest film, but told in a delicate manner where the metaphors wonderfully sweep in to tell the story in their own way. We’ve picked Tsubasa’s brain to tell us a little more on the making and intentions behind the film:

Can you tell me a little bit about Prelude, how did this film come about?

The co-writer, and my childhood friend Koji remembered a story our middle school teacher told us: there were at least 3 people thinking the same thing we did and doing the same thing we did at any given moment in time. But, we believed interacting with other people makes you special. So, we wanted to make a film about everyone’s first interaction— a sperm falling in love with an egg. That’s how we came up with the initial concept.

Prelude still 01

What was the most challenging scene for you to film?

The underwater scene was the most challenging scene. I wanted Marion (the egg played by Jessica Park) to be at a specific spot for framing, but it was hard to communicate with her and the camera operator because obviously we couldn’t talk under the water. The green screen we had in the background dissolved in water and made the water cloudy. But in the end, the cloudy water made the lighting and texture look unique and I ended up loving it.

Such a delicate story, how did you go about the writing and the script progression?

When we were writing the script, I was in NYC and the co-writer Koji was in Tokyo. So, we hopped on very long Skype calls to bounce off ideas and polish the script. Klark joined towards the end to have a new set of eyes. It took a year to finish the script.

Prelude still 02

This film holds so many metaphors that we’ve surely missed some on the first watch. Are there any subtle ones that you’d like the audience to look for on the second watch?

One of my favorite metaphors was the cigarette penetrating an egg yolk. It’s a double metaphor for destroying a life (because Alex, the sperm, doesn’t want to interact with Marion, the egg), and also visually it symbolizes conception.

Another favorite one is “the rain” they talk about. It’s a metaphor for lactic acid in vaginas and you can also hear the sound of rain during the end credits.

As a writer/director are you open to changes or suggestions when you start shooting or do you like to stick to what has been written?

Yes of course! It’s natural to get ideas on set and I’m open to suggestions and tweaking stories on set. I believe sometimes the best ideas come while filming.

What has this film thought you about filmmaking?

This film wouldn’t have happened without the help from others. In college, I was working on lots of passion projects inside and outside of the school for unpaid or low rates. I made some good friends through that process and they offered to help for free or a very reasonable rate. That made it possible to execute the vision and I can’t thank them enough for that.

What do you hope people will take away from Prelude?

I hope people will get the message that you can’t be special on your own and interacting with others makes you special. Also, how beautiful making a new life can be.