I had to cleanse my brain-palate from the mess that was Bell From Hell so I took a break from movies for awhile. Then I watched Harold and Maude, which was excellent but not very scary. Now I’m back with Audition (1999) by Takashi Miike.
I never write about a movie immediately after I watch it. I usually give myself a day to digest. Plus, I find getting screencaps to be very boring and I like to put that off. But I just really had to share the awesomeness that was Audition RIGHT NOW. There may be spoilers ahead.
As the movie started I was captured by the soft, beautiful light and dreamy music. Unfortunately, it’s part of a sad scene. Shigeharu Aoyama’s (Ryu Ishibashi) wife has just died as his son, Shigehiko (Tetsu Sawaki) has come to visit.
Seven years later, Shigehiko encourages his father to date again. When I saw this shot, I had an idea where this movie was going.
The movie was filled with shots of people alone in big places or in crowds but not interacting with anyone.
Aoyama’s colleague has the idea of holding mock film auditions so Aoyama can meet the perfect woman. Aoyama is quickly drawn to Asami Yamazaki’s (Eihi Shiina) application and after meeting her he is sure that she’s the woman for him.
By the way, you realize throughout the movie that Aoyama is basically the Nicest Guy in the World. He isn’t some sleazoid pawing his way through taxi-dancers. This is important later on.
And Asami is essentially quiet but self-posessed. Also, she’s a former ballerina. But then you realize when Aoyama calls her that she may be just a little bit crazy.
She was literally sitting by the phone, not moving, waiting for him to call. Also, there is something in a sack that rolls around.
Asami keeps her crazy on the down low and Aoyama eventually asks her to a resort where he intends to propose to her. There are some quite beautiful shots throughout the movie, like this one which reminds me of one of the scenes from Carnival of Souls. Only in color and Japanese.
From here, the movie gets complicated. And somewhat trippy. It’s a very slow building tension that’s very Hitchcockian.
I don’t want to give away everything but Ayami is not a woman to be trifled with. Her weapons are as delicate and as beautiful as her–predominantly acupuncture needles and a wire saw. The last fifteen minutes had me glued to the screen thinking “This can’t be happening!” but it totally IS happening because I just saw it. I will never ever forget the noise that they used for the wire saw.
What I thought was remarkable about the movie is that throughout it you manage to like both Aoyama and Asami. You learn of Asami’s past and you truly pity her and the reasons that she’s so emotionally fragile. And Aoyama is just a likeable guy. You don’t want either of them to be hurt.
This movie is more about loneliness than anything else. As Asami says, “Even if I give you all of me you won’t be mine completely.” Can anyone ever be anyone else’s completely? I don’t know but I do understand the yearning. It’s deeply sad because I think that Asami and Aoyama could be that way with each other if Asami could get over her torture, mutilation and murder issues. Also, maybe the jealousy.
Hollywood, I know that you enjoy remaking Japanese movies, but never ever remake this one. Please, it will kill me if I have to see Vanessa Hudgens play Asami. Or Lea Michelle. I love Glee but I will murder you, Hollywood, if you put any of those singing and dancing teens in a remake of this.
Edit; Can you believe it’s been two years since I wrote this entry? Turns out that the awesome Final Girl has decided to write about Audition for Shocktober 2012. Happy Halloween!
- Scarina--the authoress and editrix of this site. I like scary movies and have dedicated my free time to cataloging horror--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes there are books too.
There's film criticism, literary criticism, and humor here. I can be highbrow but there's lots of pop culture too. And feminism.
I fervently love "Twin Peaks" and wish it were a real place so I could move there. I can't list my favorite scary movies because they change depending on my mood, the season, and how much coffee I've had.
I'm an artist looking for ways to blend creepy with cute. I try to channel my childhood nightmares, my love of horror, and my experiences with sleepy paralysis.
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