Friday, September 18, 2009

World Movie Series - 28 - Ōdishon

Ageing is something which can be compared with death, isn’t it? When people age, they gradually develop a fear inside, which shrinks them inside their shells, and they become sad and jealous about people happily living. Now, what will happen if suddenly someone enters in to their lives who can drive away the fear of loneliness? Suddenly they feel happy and rejuvenated, and they will do what ever they can to be with this new person throughout their lives.

‘Ōdishon’ is one such movie which tells us the story of a widower named Shigeharu Aoyama. Aoyama’s wife had died when his son was ten years old, and from then on, his son is the only element in his life with whom he can share his emotions with. His loneliness is shared with his son. One day – the son is now seventeen years old – during dinner, the son casually puts across the question of remarriage to his father, and he tells that the idea occurred ‘just like that’ to him. The son leaves, and Aoyama keeps pondering about the option of remarriage for a long time. It is as if suddenly a door has been blasted open in his heart, and all his emotions are rushing through the door.

The next day, Aoyama reaches office, and we see his secretary. She is melancholic and tells him that she is planning to marry, for which Aoyama gives a simple nod and leaves. Aoyama meets his friend Yoshikawa, who happens to be Aoyama’s partner too, and tells him about what the son suggested. Yoshikawa becomes happy and he asks Aoyama if he has any plans to date and love any girl for which Aoyama answers negative. Yoshikawa then thinks about a plan to audition young girls in the name of a new film, for the role of the heroine. Aoyama can select the girl he likes very much and then they can tell her the truth.

Aoyama likes the idea, and the next day, all the newspapers carry the advertisement of a new film to be produced, which needs a new face. Applications flood in, and Aoyama selects thirty applicants from the huge pool.

The ‘audition’ begins. Yoshikawa and Aoyama question the applicants, and near the very end of the audition, Aoyama meets Asami Yamazaki, a girl, seeing whose photo the previous night, Aoyama got attracted. Asami had mentioned in her application that she learned ballet dancing for 12 years and that she stopped dancing due to an injury. She is more reserved during the audition, but then Aoyama gets attracted and keeps appreciating her for everything she had mentioned in her application.

After the auditions, Aoyama tells Yoshikawa he was bowled over by Asami, and both are happy they were able to select a girl.

The next day, Yoshikawa calls Aoyama and warns him that not even a single contact she had mentioned in her resume was verified, and he was unable to reach anyone in the resume. Aoyama is further informed that the music producer under whom Asami worked had gone missing for the past one year. Even then, Aoyama believes in the girl.

After a few days, Aoyama decides to call Asami and to talk to her. Asami answers his call, agrees to meet him in a restaurant. They both meet up a few times, and then Aoyama confesses to Asami about the truth about the audition. Asami says she doesn’t mind it, and it will be her good luck to get married to Aoyama. This continues for a few days.

One day, Aoyama takes Asami to a sea side resort. There, Asami gets in to the bed naked, and tells Aoyama she wants him to know everything about her. She shows him a few scars on her body and tells him about the abuses she suffered in her childhood, and she asks him to love ONLY her, and after Aoyama agrees, they make love.


The next morning, Aoyama learns that Asami has left the hotel. From then on, Aoyama is unable to trace Asami, as she disappears from his life altogether.

He suddenly remembers about the ballad dance centre where Asami had learnt dancing for 12 years. It is deserted and ruined, and there is an old man on a wheelchair with wooden feet. He laughs at Aoyama and asks him about all the days he spent with Asami and tells him it was the old man who was responsible for the scars on Asami’s body. He orders Aoyama to go home and not to search the girl.

The confused Aoyama then goes to the bar where Asami was working, and while entering it, a man from the upper floor tells Aoyama that the bar is closed for an year, since the manager was found murdered an year ago. He was chopped in to pieces, and when the police assembled the body parts together, they found three extra fingers, an ear and a tongue. He concludes with a sad remark about the cruel world outside, and leaves.

From here on, a series of events occur which take the movie to a totally different surface. One by one, the viewer gets to learn all the shocking truths, and is left gaping at the screen. The final 20-25 minutes form the backbone of the movie, and it’s difficult to come to a conclusion by watching the movie only once. We gotta see it 2-3 times to learn about the series of events, and even in the end, the movie poses a lot of questions to the viewers for which the answers have to be assumed, based on our own discretion.

‘Ōdishon’ is a Japanese film which got released in 1999 and is directed by Takashi Miike. Just like ‘Seom’ directed by Kim Ki Duk, this movie too had a series of walk-outs, and the viewers were left puking or fainting. Many viewers have registered their opposition about the movie, stating that it has violence which can never be imagined. But, to be frank, I didn’t feel any sort of disturbance at all, and I was engrossed completely in the film. But, I am giving this warning for the people who can’t take seeing blood or flesh.

In my opinion, this is a different movie. We can derive a lot of inferences after seeing it. I don’t want to give any more details about the film, as it will break the suspense. I will advice the viewers to watch it and to have their own deductions.

There are a lot of unsaid stories about the characters in this film which are shown to us in just a single shot – less than a second – and from then on, things are just not the same. Due to these unsaid stories, the film is all the more interesting.

See the trailer here.


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