Tea time with Just a Guy
Interview with Shoko Hara, director of Just a Guy
Why did you want to share your relationship with Richard Ramirez?
When I found my letter from Richard Ramirez back then in 2018 I also remembered that he had a lot of female fans and girlfriends. So I was interested how the relationship between him and the women looked like, what kind of women they are and I was interested in their psychology and intention. I don’t have that much personal experience with him like the other women in the film but I thought it is very important to include myself to not point a finger at these women and make a sensation out of it. This was the way to show the different perspectives of the different women and tell the story how it really happened. I wanted to share it to show that those things exist and this for very long time actually and to question if this kind of love can be defined as love.
How did you get in touch with Eva and why was it important for you to add her story to yours and Sarah’s?
I read about her in Philipp Carlo’s Book The Night Stalker that she was the very first girlfriend for the first 7 years when he was in jail. Since she is quite well known in the death rock scene it was quite easy to reach her through her Facebook page. She immediately agreed to do the interview, I think because she already had a bad reputation through the book and wanted to correct some stuff Carlo wrote about her; and she was the most important protagonist in this film because she got to know him in the very beginning in person. She was the only one in general who was able to visit him until he opened the visits for other women. So how she saw him and how she experienced their relationship is very credible and precious.
How much were you interested in exploring the links between sexually stimulating virility and extreme violence?
These two things belong together for women who are into BDSM, so it was not a surprise that sexually stimulating virility is part of the violence or other way around. There are a lot of “normal” people who are into BDSM who practice it at home with their kind of “normal” non-criminal partners. For most of the people it is good enough. But as Sarah said in the film, she doesn’t buy those guys who just act like they are dominant and violent. For her only real murderers and criminals in prison are authentic enough to get triggered and experience this real thrill. And it makes sense I guess. But as we know from our experience, we always want more and strive for continuous improvement, when you are into something. Mostly we are not satisfied with what we have. So we need to be careful about it to not to go into a wrong or negative direction.
Are all of the drawings shown in the film from Richard’s letters?
Yes they are all original drawings from Richard letters. I don’t want to overanalyze them, but I think it is interesting because sometimes you can guess what kind of type he is through the drawings or through the handwriting as well.
Did you do research on the rapes and killings during the Vietnam War that Richard’s cousin showed him as a child?
Yes, I did research in many different directions and I’ve also read about it and also Eva told me the story. Richard Ramirez was strongly influenced by his cousin. He showed him pictures of dead bodies from Vietnam war or women he had raped. Those pictures he collected as trophies. Richard saw those terrible pictures when he was 12. But before that his cousin also showed him how to kill animals when he was 9. And later on Richard saw how his cousin murdered his wife. So through him he had a mixed message of love, life and death.
If we were to go back into lockdown, what cultural delights would you recommend to alleviate our boredom?
We here in Germany have the second lockdown since November but I am not bored at all because I always keep myself busy. I decided to become a PhD student and want to research about animated documentary. So I am writing a synopsis for the application at the moment. For that I have to read a lot. Besides that I started to have a lot of plants since last year and I started my own plant book with illustrations. And at the moment I do short trading with crypto currencies.
Just a Guy is part of Lab Competition L4.