IMDb Rating 7.4 10 1,474


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tammy_trauma 10 / 10 / 10


I must say, I was really not expecting this film... I gave this film a view without any idea of the plot or basic info to back it up and I finished the film with an uncomfortable feeling. From a personal perspective I can assure you this isn't simply the story of a "crazy" girl and a washed out filmmaker...this is the story of a profoundly sorrowed girl and exploring how she deals with this sorrow in her day to day life. The reason she may not have jumped that ledge on the roof may very well be due to those lies she kept telling herself and her whole "ritual", she only needed someone to appreciate her and stay with her and teach her life isn't as painful as she was brought up thinking it was. I can't believe how well fujitani played this role...As someone else mentioned, why hasn't she done more film? She was even TOO convincing in her role...I could have filled a litre of water with my tears. The uber-emotional plot and performances aside, the visuals were equally wonderful, especially her "secret" basement filled with red umbrellas, water, and her bathtub. I haven't seen such unique and beautiful set designs for a while. I'll wrap this up...AMAZING movie 10/10 getting a DVD copy soon, i HAVE to. You definitely HAVE to watch this movie.

Reviewed by Meganeguard 10 / 10 / 10

Tomorrow is my birthday

For international fans I believe that there are two main reasons why one would be interested in viewing this film. First, the film is directed by Anno Hideaki the director of _Neon Genesis Evangelion_ and _Love & Pop_ and second Iwai Shunji debuts in his, so far, only acting role. As for myself, having watched eight of Iwai's films in the last couple of month, I was curious to hear the voice of the long haired spectacled director and see if his performance in front of the camera compared to his remarkable work behind it. Even if his acting does not reach these lofty heights, he does a fine job and cuts quite a striking Caleb Carr-esquire figure. However, the true star of the film is Fujitani Ayako, daughter of Steven Seagal and the writer of the novel upon which this movie was based. She is cute and has an adorable smile, but she is also quite capable of portraying an individual who is in the grips of insanity. One of the interesting aspects of this film is that the action is performed by primarily two individuals, Iwai and Fujitani, in a worn down, but, in its way, picturesque industrial town. Iwai plays the role of an animation director who bored with his line of work flees Tokyo to his hometown. There he encounters a young girl on the train tracks wearing flashy clothing and whose face is caked in make up. This initial meeting eventually culminates into Iwai's nameless character visiting the girl each day until she becomes comfortable enough to invite him into her home which appears to be an abandoned factory building. Iwai's character, who is nicknamed "Director" by the girl knows little about the girl, but is eventually able to peace together that the girl lives in a world of fantasy and denial, but also a world in which she is utterly alone. The girl becomes quite attached to the Director, but when he does not reciprocate her feelings in the way she believes he should or even if he steps out to the store, she is terrified of being abandoned. These points in the film make for some scenes that grips the viewer's heart. Check this film out if you get the chance.

Reviewed by jusa-uusimaki 10 / 10 / 10

Madness has rarely been this beautiful

(contains MINOR spoilers) Thunderous clank of industrial machines, the very heartbeat of the city, opens the film. City moans, crashes and rustles like some metallic yet living creature. Fumes of smoke rise to sky, everything is ragged, worn and so, so gray. Opening shots of Hideaki Anno's Shiki Jitsu open our eyes to harsh beauty of polluted, urban landscapes like few films have. And then, on railroad tracks, Girl meets Director and Director meets Girl, setting the plot and starting the careful, subtle character studies of Girl and (to lesser extent) Director, Anno's alter ego just as much as Shinji ever was. Discounting main characters, strange man with bandage and Girl's mysterious, somewhat threatening Mother (who is always looming just beyond act of answering phone) there is no other characters in this movie. Ayako Fujitani contributes one of all time greatest portrayals of creeping madness and loneliness. Her magnificent performance and sheer charisma born out of mix of talent and very personal nature of her character* is one of best virtually unknown performances in history of cinema. Legendary indie director Shunji Iwai debuts as actor in role of (surprise surprise) Director and does mighty good job that is sadly out shined by Fujitani's brilliance. But then again, focus of movie is Girl and she gets most of characterization. (*after all Shiki Jitsu is heavily modified version of short novella she wrote based on her experiences of alienation as multicultural child in L.A) Compared to characters (which embody themes oh so similar to those of us who have seen Anno's magnum opus Neon Genesis Evangelion) plot is secondary, something that just happens half accidentally alongside with character interactions instead of it propelling the movie. Plot is merely background canvas for all that takes place, yet it IS there and is quite complex affair. And of course interest of more plot oriented viewers is sustained by Anno's trademark titles. They don't just introduce each new day, they also count days to... what exactly? Girl's suicide? End of their short acquaintance? Something more? Something less? With plot out of focus great part of film relies on great performances and character interaction, but even more on movie's undiminishable highpoint: It is brilliantly directed and features top notch formalism and cinematography. Anno's framing, camera-work and cinematography are absolutely wonderful with healthy doze of motifs and his trademark fish-eye lens thrown in for good measure. Brilliant pacing and rhyming of shots and scenes is deeply interwoven with wondrous colour schema of red, blue and white. Some long shots are worthy of Tarkovsky and the defining moments of film - such as when Director finally "takes action" near end of film in Girl's basement - stand among most beautiful, best shot photography ever put on film and among my all time favourite scenes. Framing brings forth constant feeling of entrapment and together with the magnificent set design - the abandonded apartment house (or some such) Girl lives in - with its dazzling peculiarities and ever present ominous staircases come to form very physical and very living metaphor for Girl's psyche out of the very mise en scene. When Director enters "the secret basement" for the first time he literally walks among darkest and deepest forming structures of her mind. The way Anno blends normal movie camera and hand-held camera is absolutely brilliant and for this film Anno perfected the use of cinema verité camera-work, adding just enough counterpoint for perfectly build shots that create main bulk of movie. Exceptionally effective is the scene in which Director is having party with his old acquintances and friends. Director's nervousness, uneasiness and anxiety among old friends and their high moods is brilliantly evocated by film material that could've been filmed by your neighbor in last new year's eve. Anno has always had eye for such small defining moments of human contact and failures of it. Shiki Jitsu isn't perfect however; Occasionally Girl's inner world is depicted in blend of live action footage and animation; one of these scenes work really well, one is OK, but unfortunately biggest one of them was just stupid. Luckily this is very minor flaw when looking at grand picture. The Wall continues to be only movie that has brilliantly mixed together animation and live film I fear... Voice-over narrative either isn't the best thing in world, but mostly it works well and is occasionally even crucial and interesting. But then again just as often it's just needless underlining of characters, something Anno skillfully avoided in NGE days. Despite these flaws this film is firmly rooted in my Top Twenty, over dozen of "perfect" films including likes of Godfather. Emotional heights of performances and brilliance of audiovisual storytelling in this film are really hard to match. Shiki Jitsu is (sadly) unknown masterpiece of cinema and is whole heartily recommended. You can get DVD with English subtitles from Amazon Japan 10/10

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