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Audition (1999) - Takashi Miike

Related: 1999 - Takashi Miike - art house cinema - Japanese cinema - horror cinema

Audition bails on the narrative, intertwines dream sequences and reality so densely there’s no telling what’s real, and pushes the gore and grue to a limit rarely seen outside the cheesy cinematic bloodbaths of 1960s schlocksters like Herschell Gordon Lewis or Al Adamson. -- Gary Morris, brightlightsfilm.com, 2001

Audition/Odishon (1999) - Takashi Miike [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Audition (Ôdishon) is a 1999 film directed by Takashi Miike based off a Murakami Ryu novel of the same title, starring Ishibashi Ryo and Shiina Eihi. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audition_%282000_movie%29 [Nov 2005]

Ishibashi is Aoyama Shigeru, an ageing film producer and widower whose son Shigehiko (Sawaki Tetsu) convinces him to remarry. He confides his anxiety about re-entering the dating scene to his friend and colleague, Yoshikawa (Kunimura Jun), who suggests the two arrange a mock audition, for a role that will never exist; Aoyama can then simply pick whoever he likes best.

He picks Yamazaki Asami (Shiina), a former dancer who left ballet after a career-ending injury. She says she has no expectation of getting the part, she simply wants to test herself. Aoyama is instantly captivated, by her strength as much as her beauty, and the two soon fall in love. All seems perfect, but of course it is not. Yamazaki disappears into thin air, only to return to exact a horrifying revenge.

Critical Response
Audition had its share of audience walk-outs. Feminist critics responded to the way women were potrayed as so many car colors to choose from, and to Aoyama and Yoshikawa's definition of the ideal woman. The film has been likened to Stephen King's Misery (for the foot-amputation scene), Oshima Nagisa's Realm of the Senses and Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audition_%282000_movie%29 [Dec 2004]


by Tom Mes

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.

Audition was based on a novel by Ryu Murakami, who - even though a number of his books haven been translated into English - is best known outside Japan as the director of the art house hit Tokyo Decadence (Topazu, 1991). Murakami was reportedly so enamoured by Miike's film that he personally asked the director to adapt his best-known novel Coin Locker Babies.

Despite the fact that it was originated by someone else, Audition's story of a middle-aged, widowed tv-producer's search for a bride through the means of a fake audition for young actresses, once again adheres to the Miike trademark of being both attractive and repellent, fascinating and disgusting. After a deceptively languid and almost melodramatic first hour, this develops into a white-knuckle endurance test of viewer's nerves. --Tom Mes, http://www.midnighteye.com/reviews/audition.shtml


  1. 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

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