I noted in last week’s article on Martin Doepner’s Rouge Sang (2013) that in the horror-thriller film, a woman’s revenge on an individual man, or number of men, is a (violent) push back against the forces of patriarchal oppression.
No film develops this theme more than Takeshi Miike’s cult horror film Audition (1999).
In this feature, we have an average man who, some years earlier, lost his wife to illness. Shigeharu Aoyama’s (Ryo Ishibashi) son decides enough time has passed and his father should remarry.
Aoyama’s producer friend then arranges an audition for a fake film whose main protagonist would be the exact woman the single man desires: subservient, pretty, and young with an artsy side, perhaps like his former wife’s enjoyment in playing the piano.
Essentially, Aoyama desires a mirror of a former wife, or, in different terms, he blatantly wants to objectify a woman in such way that doesn’t appear too misogynistic.
He is, we learn, an extremely nice man who means well.
The woman he finally decides upon acts the role all too well. Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina) is a former ballerina, also young, pretty, quiet, reserved, and appreciative of Aoyama’s generosity and wealth.
As the plot unravels, we discover she has had a past filled with horrible men, and the present role she has taken upon herself is a key component in a complex plan for revenge against the male sex.
Miike’s film has unnerved many, and this is his point: we feel bad for the well-meaning misogynist as his replacement wife does not conform to his ideal image.
Following this emotional experience, we should have an epiphany: we should feel great anguish that the man’s oppressiveness is normal, something we unfortunately see (and perhaps participate in) every day.
The film is part love story, part family drama, and part horror—the last, when it finally arrives, emerges with a climactic intensity that can be endlessly discussed and assessed by critics and audiences.
Please join us for Takashi Miike’s Audition on Wednesday, January 15, 8pm, at Artspace (378 Aylmer Street, between Hunter St. and Simcoe St.).
As always, the screening is free for students and community. For more info: www.facebook.com/trentfilmsociety; firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this event, we will also have a draw for two passes to ReFrame Film Festival. The draw is open to Trent students.
(If you’re a cinephile then flip ahead to page 10 for the Trent Film Society winter 2014 schedule, complete with critical soundbites. Cut it out and put it on your fridge to make sure you don’t miss a single film. If you do, you’ll at least have the name of the film you missed so you can torrent it and watch it later on your own time. – Eds.)