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Audition (1999)
Director: Miike Takashi

review by Mike Philbin

After the death of his wife, company executive Shigeharu Aoyama brings up his only son. The pair are almost inseparable for seven years. During a meeting with a business colleague at the TV station where he works, a cunning plan for a fake TV show is concocted to find Shigeharu a new wife, giving his son a new mother. The night before the eponymous Audition, Shigerharu finds his bride among the résumés supplied by the agencies. Her intention of application for the role touches his heart and he knows even before the audition who he will choose. Asami is everything he hoped, demure, graceful, her soft nature is the glue that binds his love to her. Despite the misgivings of his TV exec friend, Shigeharu phones her and they make a date. They get on very well...
   From author Ryu Murakami whose novels/screenplays includes Almost Transparent Blue and Tokyo Dceadence, this is the most horrific film ever to make its way to the screen. Asami lives her life like a crocodile. Waiting patiently, biding her time with the romance, the social graces, the first consummation, until the man confesses his love for 'only her'. Shigeharu only realises the significance of this confession when Asami bursts into his normal life with such ferocity that you just will not believe this film could ever have made it past the censors.
   The director Takeshi Miike should win an award for his tortuous pacing. The paranoia-interwoven build up to the final declaration of love reflects the crocodile nature of its terrifying heroine; it will get you, it doesn't care how much you want it, it will show you only what it needs. Time actually folds in on itself like sticky treacle, drawing you into its sweating embrace. You feel nauseous, you want to know if what you are watching is dream, nostalgia or just unfounded fear.
   Like a man awakening in a hessian bag for eternity, you will be stunned breathless by the delicate horror of Asami - never, never judge a book by its cover.
Audition
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