DIY Cannes 2013: Audition

auditioneihishiinaTo stave off the depression of not being at Cannes while everyone I follow on Twitter gabs about their new favorite discoveries, I’ve decided to take the opportunity and hold my own film festival. Every night, I’m going to watch a movie I haven’t seen by one of the director’s debuting on the Croisette. Thanks to the power of Netflix, so many foreign movies and older auteur classics are available for Instant Streaming. Who knows what discoveries I might find along the way?

And yes, I know it’s over, but 2 week long trips in the middle of this project set me back very far. I’m going to finish it up anyway BECAUSE I CARE. Or I’m still unemployed.

 

 

Movie #14: Audition

Director: Takashi Miike

His Cannes 2013 Movie: Shield of Straw

When I went to the fest in 2011, Takashi Miike had some other forgettable movie playing during the midnight screenings. In order to prepare for it, I decided to watch one of his movies. However, I was given a difficult choice. I took the coward’s way out and I selected 13 Assassins which is a good deal of fun, but nothing to write home about. Now 2 years later, I had to face my fears. I sucked it up and I watched one of the most famously scary and horrific movies of all time.

I love scary movies, but I’m a bit of a chicken, so at 11:30 AM on a Saturday, I fired up Netflix and went to work.

I already knew a little bit about the plot, so I will spoil only as much as I knew before hand here. I feel like everyone knows that it’s about a man who is auditioning women, but when he falls in love with one of the girls, it turns out that she is totally fucked up and likes to kidnap and torture people. What I didn’t expect was how fun it was in the beginning. It starts with a super light tone as Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) and his buddy Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) are pretty much in a rom com. They laugh, happy music plays, they make funny comments about all of the women they are auditioning. Everything’s a laugh a minute!

Then enters Asami, wickedly played by Eihi Shiina. She is quiet, beautiful, and demure – the model of Japanese perfection. The audience is shown a seen of her alone in her apartment that reveals to us that she is bat-guano evil maybe about… halfway through. Then for the next 45 minutes, Miike delivers some of the most excruciating tension I’ve ever had the horrible experience of going through. It’s never ending tension with only the tiniest releases. It’s truly masterful, but boy did it leave me shaken. My go-to “I’m too scared” move is to just keep pausing a lot. The longest I ever had to pause was a solid 2 minutes to regain my composure. Stop judging me!

For the last 20 minutes, the spit hits the fan and it turns into what the movie is known for – some good ol’ fashioned torture porn (and before torture porn was really a thing even!). While this is the famous part, it’s not nearly the most effective for me. I can watch the gore, just show it plainly and move on. For me, Aoyama’s search for love, truth, and sanity is what manages to succeed emotionally, yet it can all still scare your pants off.

In the end, Audition is a love story. It’s about two lonely lost souls who are just looking for love in a different way. No, I wouldn’t call it romantic. But the cruel balance between levity and gut-wrenching tension is unparalleled. Just make sure you’re up for the challenge. I’m still recovering.

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