In Takashi Miike’s subversive cult classic, a lonely widower seeks new love under the guise of a film audition and “casts” a mysterious woman as his future wife.
After 20 years, and now remastered in eye-piercing 4K, Takashi Miike’s Audition still stands atop his absurdly prolific filmography, unanimously heralded as his masterpiece. Taking a cue from Psycho, Miike creates an illusion of safety as he plays with and indulges tropes of Japanese melodrama only to mischievously pivot into something much more powerful. The quest of sad sack Shigehiko Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), a widowed single-father, to find the “perfect woman” begins when he is convinced by a sleazy co-worker to stage fake auditions. Aoyama is immediately smitten with the much younger, white-clad, subservient Asami (Eihi Shiina). As long walks along the river turn into romantic dinners, a proposal is inevitable, until a weekend excursion to a seaside hotel sets off a chain of events that will change Aoyama’s life, and cinema, forever. Released at a time when Miike was producing five features a year, the seemingly low-key Audition made little impact on its home shores, but became “The Film” for budding horror cinephiles to show like-minded friends and unsuspecting, squeamish enemies alike.
CAST: EIHI SHIINA, RYO ISHIBASHI, JUN KUNIMURA, TETSU SAWAKI
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