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Page history last edited by Air Dupaix 10 years, 9 months ago

Whether you have or haven't seen it, love or hate it, or simply don't care at all, Audition is a film which is quite difficult to ignore. Despite the controversy surrounding the grotesque depictions of sadism throughout the film (though not as prevalent as one would expect from a typical Miike film), this movie contains many stunning allusions to elements of Japanese culture - and the treatment of women in general.

This particular scene is one of the primary culprits of the disgust and disbelief surrounding this film; however, the implications and associations made throughout the story are very complicated and much more artful than they often receive credit for.


Although made popular by Miike, the film Audition is actually based upon a novelette by Japanese author Ryu Murakami. However, unlike many novel-to-film adaptations, the author was notably excited after viewing the film, showing his appreciation to Miike by asking him to adapt one of his more famous novels, In the Miso Soup.



In an interview with Midnighteye.com, Miike said of Audition: 

"For me, Audition is not horror. At least, there is no monster, it's not supernatural. It's a story about a girl who has just slightly strange emotions, so it's not impossible to understand her. She just wants the person she loves to stay by her side. She doesn't commit a big crime, she just cuts the guy's foot off. But when I read the novel, I was really scared. I felt it was so realistic. Between the two characters there is no conflict. They met briefly at the audition, but such really small incidents can change a person's life completely.

Such kinds of things I enjoy putting on film. I accentuated the aspect of horror a bit more. In horror films, we think the horrific element is a special thing that doesn't exist in real life and that's why we can enjoy it. But there are terrifying things in life too and they are all made by human beings. Everybody has those things inside themselves. So by filming human beings, it naturally becomes a horror movie." [1]

"My films are categorized as being in a certain type of genre. But myself, I don't make the movie thinking about which category the film belongs in. If the actor changes, the mood of the film changes a lot too. For example in Audition if the lead actress wasn't Eihi Shiina the film would be very different. She smiles when she cuts off the foot, and as a result that moment becomes real horror. If another actress would have done it very seriously and roughly, then it wouldn't become horror. That kind of mood depends on how we find the cast and crew. It's like destiny. So I like to use that destiny to my advantage. I think it's the only way to make a film, so I don't change the actors as I like, because the film will also change.

When I meet the people I imagine what they are like. The way I direct them comes from that impression. Maybe my impression is not correct about that person's real character, but that doesn't really relate to the film. During the process of meeting someone, I make my perspective on the character they will play and give them direction based on that perspective." - Takashi Miike



Despite Miike's apparent desire to base the underlying horrors of the film in reality, many prominent confusions arise from it's expressionistmise en scene

. For example, many of the scenes depicting the dates between Shigeharu and Asami alter their locations while the characters are in mid-sentence; at the beginning of one word they are in a well-lit, moderately occupied dinner, but by the end of the sentence (and numerous dramatic camera tricks) the diner is shown as being completely empty, aside from the two characters.


Miike also takes this disorientation technique to new levels in Shigeharu's dream sequence

, where he interchanges multiple characters as a symbolic reference to the way Japanese men (or possibly men in general) perceive female sexuality. He accomplishes this technique by successfully juxtaposing the image of Asami with that of Shigeharu's wife and his son's girlfriend - all intertwined under the concept of fellatio.


It is unfortunate that such stunning manipulation of the senses, in the truest sense of the suspense/horror genre, goes overlooked because of the controversial subject matter of which it is comprised. In my honest opinion, Miike managed to create a film that deviantly, if not somewhat inadvertently, both answers the question of not only what exactly "good" horror is, as well as defines what it should be.









Works Cited

[1] http://www.midnighteye.com/interviews/takashi_miike.shtml


Comments (1)

Sean Desilets said

at 1:43 am on Dec 3, 2009

* I actually like this layout, but I'm pretty sure I shouldn't.
* The Miike quotations are really cool, but in some cases (ie the one about actors) they need some contextualization and discussion.
* Excellent linking work.
* I'm not sure that I'd describe _Audition_'s mise-en-scene as "expressionist," and actually an awful lot of what you talk about in that passage is produced by way of editing rather than mise-en-scene. We might profitably ask ourselves *how* to describe Miike's mise-en-scene.

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