ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU
Tracking the downward spirals of two troubled, pop-music obsessed teens, this poetic drama is both a time capsule of Y2K-era cyberculture and a timeless portrait of youthful alienation.
Returning to theaters for the first time since its 2001 release, Shunji Iwai’s cult favorite is more troublingly relevant than ever. The action of ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU is seen from the perspective of shy, 14-year-old Hasumi (Hayato Ichihara), who observes helplessly as his friend Hoshino (Shûgo Oshinari) mutates from relentlessly teased class president to ruthless school bully. Sadistic and manipulative, Hoshino’s reign of terror gradually envelops Hasumi and many of his classmates, including his crush Kuno (Ayumi Itô). These characters’ fraught real-world relationships are mirrored and refracted in the online chat rooms where they employ aliases to ardently discuss a mysterious popstar named Lily Chou-Chou. In these earnest, emotional exchanges, the “Lilyholics” debate the mysterious, life-sustaining force of Lily’s music and goad each other toward even more obsessive levels of devotion to their beloved idol. With its kinetic, handheld camerawork and innovative use of text-based dialogue, the film is a fascinating document of a still-fledgling online culture and a prescient view of the ways the Internet would further transform everyday life. Yet for all its turn-of-the-millennium signifiers, ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU deserves to be recognized as one of cinema’s most heartrending depictions of teen angst.
CAST: Hayato Ichihara, Shûgo Oshinari, Ayumi Itô
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