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Related: Japan - Japanese erotica - Japanese exploitation - Japanese erotic films - Japanese horror
Titles: Audition (1999) - Tokyo Decadence (1992)
Audition/Odishon (1999) - Takashi Miike [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Ryu Murakami (Murakami Ryu, born 19 February 1952 in Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan) is a Japanese novelist and filmmaker. His real name is Murakami Ryunosuke.
His first work, a short novel titled Almost Transparent Blue which deals with promiscuity and drug use among disaffected Japanese youth, won the newcomer's literature prize in 1976. It was critically acclaimed as a new style of literature, though some observers decried it as decadent. Blue also won the Akutagawa Prize later the same year. The novel went on to become a best seller.
In 1980, Murakami published the much longer novel Coin Locker Babies, again to critical acclaim.
His novels available in English include Almost Transparent Blue, 69, Coin Locker Babies and In the Miso Soup.
Takashi Miike's feature film Audition (1999) was based on one of his novels. Murakami reportedly liked it so much he gave Miike his blessing to adapt Coin Locker Babies.
Despite the similarity of names, he is not related to Haruki Murakami or Takashi Murakami. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryu_Murakami [Nov 2005]
ProfileBorn in Nagasaki in 1952, Murakami's given name is Murakami Ryunosuke. He became both a novelist and filmmaker, and received the Yomiuri Literary Award in 1998 for In the Miso Soup. His film Tokyo Decadence was premiered at Toronto Film festival in 1992.
Over the past few years, Japan has faced a series of crises. Big banks and companies have gone bankrupt or been forced into mergers to survive. Workers are afraid of losing their jobs and constantly feel on edge.
However, Ryu Murakami--a prolific novelist, film director and producer of Cuban music--stresses that these turbulent times provide a golden opportunity for Japanese, who are at a loss and no longer enjoy the protection of communities as they once did, to confront this so-called sense of crisis and change their mind-set.
The 47-year-old urges society to embrace the concept of individualism, and not to be afraid of the globalization of the economy.--http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/intview/0223dy17.htm
- Coin Locker Babies - Ryu Murakami [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The third of this prolific Japanese author's 30 novels to appear in English, this is a cyber-Bildungsroman of playful breadth and uncertain depth. Two mothers abandon their infant boys in the Yokohama train station's coin lockers. The reader is not spared the mechanics of packaging a child in a parcel, nor the grim details of any of the other episodes of discomfort and suffering which follow in incremental doses, though always with such whimsy that the reader wonders whether or not to be offended. The heroes, Kiku and Hashi, grow up together; but, beyond their bizarre beginnings, they couldn't be more different. Kiku becomes a homicidal pole-vaulter whose inner rage gives him unusual speed and strength, but which also fosters an obsession with murder and a secret drug that sets any creature into a killing frenzy. The more delicate Hashi strives to find his mother, supporting himself as a prostitute in Toxitown?a chemical disaster zone insulated from Tokyo by a wall and armed guards?until one of his johns discovers his musical talent and makes him a star. The settings seem lifted from Japanese animation epics: an abandoned mining town, an underwater tunnel and a retreat in the mountains. At times, Murakami rambles, as in the case of a taxi driver's pointless monologue or the long interviews with women who might be Hashi's mother. Such digressions, however, are less the product of careless craft than of a lush and frantic imagination overwhelming its own project. Though expansive and exciting as its scope, the novel is as unfocused as its troubled heroes. Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
- Audition/Odishon (1999) - Takashi Miike [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Much of the controversy surrounding Takashi Miike's Audition centres on the disturbing nature of the later part of the film--understandable when you consider the imprint these admittedly horrific images leave on the viewer--but fails to note the intricate social satire of the rest. This is a film that offers insight into the changing culture of Japan and the generation gap between young and old. Shigeharu Aoyama is looking for an obedient and virtuous woman to love and asks, "Where are all the good girls?"--a comment that seals his fate. A fake audition is organised to find Aoyama a wife. Asami Yamazaki is introduced as the virtuous woman he is looking for, dressing for the majority of the film in white and behaving with the courtesy of an angel, especially when juxtaposed against the brash stupidity of the other girls at the audition. Although his friend takes an immediate "chemical" dislike to her, Aoyama begins a love affair to end all love affairs. But as Asami's history unfolds we see her pain and torture and slowly understand that the tortured in this instance holds the power to become the torturer. Aoyama is slowly drawn away from his white, metallic and homely environment into the vivid- red and dirty-dark environment of Asami's sadistic world.
Audition can be viewed on a number of levels, with important feminist, social and human rights issues to be drawn from the story. However, the real power of this film is its descent into the subconscious, to a point where reality is blurred and the audience is unable to decide whether the disturbing images on screen are real or surreal. This refined, hard-hitting and essentially Japanese style of horror is ultimately much more powerful than anything offered by Hollywood. This is a film that will get under your skin and infect your consciousness with a blend of fearless gore and unimaginable torture. It is not for the faint-hearted. --Nikki Disney for amazon.co.uk
- Tokyo Decadence (1992) - Ryu Murakami [Amazon US]
The fourth feature film written and directed by the Japanese novelist Ryu Murakami (Coin Locker Babies) revels in S&M episodes that seem to owe less to the Japanese tradition of the "pink film" than to such Euro art-bondage movies as La Maîtresse (France, 1976) and A Woman in Flames (West Germany, 1983). Visually, the sequences stop well short of hard core, and emotionally they are amorphous, too, even less unsettling than standard porno fare. What ultimately saps the movie's strength is its schematic approach to character. The loosely structured picture tags along after a timid young woman named Ai (Miho Nikaido), a recent college graduate who has found work in the big city as a hooker specializing in low-impact bondage. Ai seems less a character than a convenient object for Murakami's flip sense of high-tech alienation. (She claims to have learned only one thing in life: "That I have no talent of any kind.") The nonstick surfaces of her daily life, like her personality, are almost completely without distinguishing features; the only gestures she makes toward taking control are some superstitious rituals prescribed by a sidewalk fortuneteller. Ai herself is such a hazy presence that nothing that happens to her stays with us. --David Chute
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