cultures differences

He ( Matthew ) was commissioned to make the film by the Kanazawa Museum Of Contemporary Art, and it’s been interesting for me as an Icelandic person to see how he’s dealt with that. Iceland doesn’t have any guilt baggage because we didn’t treat any country awfully during the Second World War. But for Matthew, a man who was born in San Francisco in 1967 - when he thinks of Japan the first thing that comes to mind is Hiroshima. It made me realise how complicated it is to be an intelligent white American male these days. That was one of the reasons I asked Will Oldham to sing ’Gratitude’. He and Matthew have that shared history. They sort of accept the guilt and sort of don’t, because there’s part of them that respects old-school American values from before the world wars and 9/11 and everything. They don’t want to associate themselves with a lot of American stuff, but are forced to in a way. I thought getting an American to sing the song rather than a Japanese person gave it more power. I mean, why on earth would the Japanese thank MacArthur when the US had just bombed them ?"

The independant, July 15 2005