Director Miike Takashi
Writer Daisuke Tengan, based on a story by Ryu Murakami
Stars Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Miyuki Matsuda, Renji Ishibashi, Tetsu Sawaki, Jun Kunimura
Running time 115 minutes
Made Japan 1999
Reviewed by The Wolf
You never really know someone. If you doubt it, go to the Audition.
Japanese director, Miike Takashi, explores the concept that infatuation is deaf to warnings and blind to just about everything else.
By leaving too much open for speculation, the horror, when it comes, is muted by the suspicion that it may be the figment of a troubled imagination.
Mr Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) is a successful businessman who leads a quiet life with his teenage son. A widower for seven years, he is persuaded to look for another wife.
He goes to his friend, Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura), who sets up an audition for a movie they were going to make, but never did, so that Aoyama can pick a selection from the hundreds of applicants and find what he's looking for.
The girl who attracts him most is a shy 24-year-old ex-ballet dancer, called Asami (Eihi Shiina). As well as being attentive and polite, she appears flattered by his interest.
"Please love me," she says. "Only me."
Yoshikawa makes discreet enquiries into her background and discovers a web of mystery. It seems that she has not been entirely truthful with Aoyama, who, by this time, is too enthralled to care.
The film takes leave of its senses as Asami comes into her own and Aoyama investigates her past. Flashbacks, hallucinations and nightmares crowd the narrative to the point where reality is blurred.
"Words create lies," Asami says. "Pain can be trusted." This could have been spoken by the Marquis de Sade.
"Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible," Dostoevsky wrote in The Brothers Karamazov. "God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man." This could have been spoken by Asami in a dream.
It is difficult to judge whether Takashi is exposing sex as a lethal weapon, or encouraging a misogynistic fear that the female of the species is more deadlier than the male.