- Audition (film)
Audition Directed by Takashi Miike Produced by Satoshi Fukushima Written by Ryu Murakami (Novel)
Starring Ryo Ishibashi
Music by Kōji Endō Cinematography Hideo Yamamoto Editing by Yasushi Shimamura Distributed by Vitagraph Films (US) Release date(s) Canada:
October 6, 1999
March 3, 2000
October 17, 2001
June 11, 2000
Running time 115 min. Country Japan Language Japanese
Audition (オーディション Ōdishon ) is a 1999 Japanese horror film directed by Takashi Miike and starring Ryo Ishibashi and Eihi Shiina. It is based on a Ryu Murakami novel of the same title. Over the years, the film has developed a cult following.
Shigeharu Aoyama (青山 重治Aoyama Shigeharu) (Ryo Ishibashi), a middle-aged man who lost his wife, Ryoko Aoyama (青山 良子 Aoyama Ryōko ) to an illness seven years prior, is urged by his 17-year-old son, Shigehiko Aoyama (青山 重彦 Aoyama Shigehiko ) (Tetsu Sawaki), to begin dating women again. Aoyama's friend and colleague, Yasuhisa Yoshikawa (吉川泰久 Yoshikawa Yasuhisa ) (Jun Kunimura), a film producer, devises a plan to hold a mock-audition, in which young, beautiful women would audition for the "part" of Aoyama's new wife, under the impression that they are auditioning for a new film.
Aoyama is immediately enchanted by Asami Yamazaki (山崎 麻美 Yamazaki Asami ) (Eihi Shiina). In her audition, Asami says that she was once a ballerina, but had to give up dancing after an injury. Aoyama, still reeling from the death of his wife, is attracted to her apparent emotional depth.
Yoshikawa warns him about Asami, saying that he has a bad feeling about her; he couldn't reach any of the references on her résumé, and her job history is shaky. The music producer she claimed to work for has gone missing. Aoyama is so enthralled by her, however, that he pursues the romance anyway.
She lives in an empty apartment, furnished only with a sack and a telephone. Four days after the audition, she sits perfectly still in the middle of the floor next to the telephone, waiting for it to ring. When it finally does, the sack lurches across the room and makes gurgling sounds. She ignores it as she waits a few rings before answering.
When Asami answers the phone, she confesses to Aoyama that she never expected him to call. After several dates, she agrees to accompany him to a seaside hotel. Once at the hotel, Asami tells Aoyama about the abuse she suffered as a child and shows him the burn scars on her body. A deeply moved Aoyama pledges his love, and they have sex.
The next morning, Aoyama is awakened by a telephone call; it is the front desk wondering if, since his companion left, he too would be checking out. He realizes Asami is nowhere to be found. Aayoma tries to track her down using her résumé, but she is nowhere to be found.
Aoyama visits the old ballet studio where Asami claimed to have trained for 12 years. He finds that the studio is now inhabited only by a wheelchair-bound old man with artificial feet. It is revealed that the man inflicted the burn scars on Asami's legs.
Then he goes to the bar where Asami used to work and someone tells him that it has been closed for a year because the woman who was in charge, the wife of a record producer, was found dismembered. When the police put her body back together, they found three extra fingers, an extra ear, and an extra tongue.
Asami goes to Aoyama's house during his search. Once there, she finds a photo of his dead wife. Enraged, she drugs his liquor decanter and hides. Aoyama comes home, pours a drink, and begins feeling the effects of the drug. The movie cuts to a sequence about Asami's past and present. In one scene, the contents of the sack are revealed to be a man missing both feet, his tongue, one ear and three fingers on one hand. He crawls out of the sack and begs for food. Asami vomits into a dog dish and places it on the floor for the man. The man sticks his face in the bowl of vomit, and hungrily consumes it.
Aoyama collapses, and Asami returns to the drugged and paralyzed Aoyama. As she walks into the room, the audience sees the twisted body of Aoyama's pet dog. She proceeds to inject Aoyama with an agent that paralyzes his body, but keeps his nerves alert. She then tortures him with needles in his abdomen and under his eyes. As she is torturing him, she tells him that, just like everyone else in her life, he has failed to love only her — she cannot stand that he would have even platonic feelings for anyone else, even his own son. She explains that she is torturing him to teach him the meaning of needing someone. She tells him that, "words create lies, pain can be trusted." She then cuts off his left foot with a wire saw while giggling.
While Asami begins to cut off his other foot, she is surprised by Aoyama's son returning home. She hides and prepares to attack him. He discovers his father on the floor, turns, and is surprised by Asami. Suddenly Aoyama has a dream that he is waking up after he and Asami had made love for the first time, and that his ordeal was only a nightmare. She says that she accepts his marriage proposal, despite him never actually proposing, and says that she is the heroine of his life. He awakes from this dream to see his son swing around and Asami fail to disable him. Shigehiko runs up a flight of stairs to escape her; as she follows him, he kicks her down the stairs, breaking her neck. Aoyama tells his son to call the police. As Aoyama lies in agony on the floor, he continues to stare at the dying figure of Asami, her neck broken in a way that she is facing him. She mutters things that she had told him earlier about waiting for his call, and being excited to see him again. He then remembers that, in his dream, he comforted her about her abuse history by saying, "It's hard to forget about...but someday you'll feel...that life is wonderful."
Audition had its share of audience walk-outs. When shown at the 2000 Rotterdam Film Festival, one enraged female viewer confronted Miike by shouting at him: "You're evil!" During uncensored members-only shows at the Irish Film Institute in Dublin in 2001, some patrons collapsed in apparent shock. One audience member was rushed to the St. James's Hospital but later discharged himself.
For its unflinching graphic content, the film has been likened to the film adaptation of Stephen King's Misery and Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses. However, the torture scene in the movie is very brief, and only a few shots show the actual torture, focusing more on Asami's sadistic enjoyment of it. Among filmmakers featured on Bravo's "100 Scariest Movie Moments" (on which the film appeared at #11), notable horror directors including Eli Roth, John Landis and Rob Zombie found the film very difficult to watch, given its grisly content; Landis said that the film was so disturbing that he couldn't enjoy it at all. Bloody Disgusting ranked the film fourteenth in their list of the 'Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade', with the article saying "Considered by many to be Takashi Miike’s masterpiece, this cringe-inducing, seriously disturbed film boasts one of the most unbearable scenes of torture in movie history... It’s revolting in the best possible way; the prolific Miike goes for the jugular here, and he cuts deep."
- ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...". http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/18415.
- ^ "Film: From Tokyo, without love | Independent, The (London) | Find Articles at BNET.com". Findarticles.com. 2001-03-18. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20010318/ai_n14367394. Retrieved 2009-03-15. [dead link]
- ^ The Institute continued to show the film, but put up warning signs.
- ^ "Audition – #11 in Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments". YouTube. 2006-10-19. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7CQvmNF8l0. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
- ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 2". Bloody Disgusting. http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/18415. Retrieved 2010-01-03.
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