Dir. Takashi miike, English, 1999
Thu 19 May 2011 // 19:30 / Cinema
"A Japanese movie about two men and their casting couch is one of the best horrors of the year" - THE GUARDIAN
What is it with Takashi Miike and needles? Some hideous childhood trauma at the doctor’s office? Whatever happened, Takashi can take a fine, almost insignificant sliver of surgical steel and turn it into some of cinema’s most horrific scenes...
Seven years without a partner can make a man lonely, but when businessman Aoyama fixes himself up on a date with the beautiful Asami, boy does he make a bad choice. Beautiful and fragile, Asami is every man’s dream. She is demure and witty, with the grace of a ballet dancer. Unfortunately, Asami had a very weird upbringing, and has become obsessed with pain. More specifically, the infliction of pain on helpless men. Can you see where this is going? Aoyama doesn’t – not until it’s too late.
Starting out as a gentle comedy of manners slash romance flick, Takashi masterfully drops the most meagre of hints about the true nature of the gorgeous Asami, played pitch-perfect by Eihi Shiina. Believe me, this is not a first date movie: as the truth unfolds, the movie culminates in some of the most horrific scenes in Japanese cinema, and therefore probably the world. And just who, or what, is in Asami’s cloth sack? You’ll find out. But you won’t like the answer...
Hitchcockian thriller or proto"torture porn" ? At its European debut screening at the 2000 rotterdam film festival a shocked audience. However, those who could face its bleak, brutal ending, realised a major new talent had been unleashed on an unprepared western cinema.
"Though accompanied by the highest audience walk-out count I was ever lucky enough to witness, Takashi Miike's Audition played to great critical acclaim at 2000's Rotterdam film festival and subsequently went on to become a worldwide festival and art house favourite." - interesting article in the MIDNIGHT EYE (specialist website on Japanese cinema)
While miike's films can be explicitly violent by European standards a strong vien of black humour proves the saving grace of his particular cinematic vision!
"The trajectory of this film is extraordinary. Audition begins as the melancholy tale of a middle-aged Japanese widower in an ailing video production company who is persuaded by his teenage son to remarry. From there it morphs into a quirky, almost Reineresque romantic comedy as he uses subterfuge to find love in the autumn of his days. But then, in the final stage of its development, a horrific black butterfly emerges from the chrysalis." - THE GUARDIAN
"A diabolically adroit piece of filmmaking that goes even further than the films of Italy's excruciatingly macabre Dario Argento." - LOS ANGELES TIME
"A great, sick rush with a kicker on the level of The Vanishing (1993)." - NEW YORK TIMES