A Movie. A Day. A Year. Day 19: Audition

Audition is the one movie that almost scared me away from Japanese women.

Almost.

This is a classic of the horror genre and one of the few films that genuinely creep me out. When it comes to horror – zombies, ghosts and outlandish psycho killers don’t really do it for me unless there is some sort of jump scare (which there is in almost every film nowadays…dang it). The ones that really get under my skin, the ones that really affect me are the ones where the threat is not only conceivable, but practical, achievable and completely happen without any external, supernatural agency.

Summoning Satan? Nah. Really want to get to me…

kiri, kiri, kiri…

On this watch through, I was struck by a couple of things that I didn’t notice earlier. Frankly, I am hitting myself on the head that I missed them:

1) Asami always wore white. Here in the West, white is associated primarily with purity, and it makes sense. Asami always came off as someone who was innocent and pure. Not by virture of being closed off from the world, but by virtue of her trials and tribulations. After the accident that damaged her hips and took away her ability to dance, we can see that what was left has been tempered and made stronger.

I don’t think that this is the ultimate case.

In Japanese tradition, white is a funeral color. This is the equivalent of someone dressing goth in the West. She’s constantly in a state of mourning for what she lost, and it’s that grief that’s made her mad. She’s the Eastern equivalent of the widow who doesn’t move past the death of her husband. The men she goes after aren’t there to comfort her, provide for her or anything like that. They are the medium through which she expresses her pain.

2) Who was auditioning for who? We accept the beginning premise that Aoyama was auditioning women to find someone suitable to date (creepy enough on its own), but as the movie continues on, it’s Aoyama who ends up auditioning for Asami. She teases, tricks and torments and Aoyama keeps right on going. This is the bloody equivalent of the old auditioning story of getting up on the stage and after preparing a stirring monologue, being told “You’re bacon. Now sizzle.”

Takashi Miike is one of my favorite directors. His use of subtle time jumps keeps the audience off balance, and letting us get a feel for Aoyama’s confusion and distress over falling into this woman’s clutches. Of all the horror films I’ve seen, this movie and Misery are the two best and the most startling to me. If you are a fan of horror in general, and J-Horror specifically – this needs to be in your collection. It’s well worth the watch…although I wouldn’t hit sites like cherryblossoms.com after watching this.

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