-(I will include some Audition’s spoilers)-
Today was the last day of my Introduction to Japanese Cinema’s class (in fact in was the final exam so it was not technically speaking a class because we did not learn anything new). I really liked this class for several reason, one being that our professor is absolutely great and she could probably make any class sound interesting. Another factor was that I felt like I was really learning something, it was not just coming in, sitting and watching a film. In addition, watching a movie with a whole bunch of other people proved to be quite entertaining: laughing all together, jumping out and cringing together etc…
When we started the class, our prof introduced all the seven films we will see during these 6 weeks of class and then she told us she was still unsure about the last film. Will we see the Horror film Audition or will we see something lighter?
I cringed a bit at the time because I read a lot about Audition some years ago and I knew it would not be easy to go through the last part of the film. I have a weird relationship with horror films: I don’t watch them but I quite enjoy reading about them.
When I was little (maybe 5 or 7) my auntie told my brother and I about a movie called Gremlins. At the time, she often played with us and she was often telling us stories using my brother’s legos. I remember quite clearly how she was explaining us some part of the movie using the Astronaut Lego, the one whose helmet is golden. It sounded like a funny movie and when it went on, my mom called me so that I could watch it. I remember clearly that I was playing on my dad’s mac (a sort of small grey box in black and white), drawing shapes on something like the great-great-great-grandfather of Words.
The movie scared me.
Especially the ending. The stupid ending where the narrator tells you that one gremlins is maybe somewhere in your house at this very moment.
I guess I blame my inability to watch horror movies on these little monsters.
Anyway, once I almost watch Audition because it was on TV but the synopsis was short and I did not even attempt watching it. I’m so glad I did not. Because it’s the kind of movie that tricks you into thinking it’s a sweet, simple film about a guy who wants to remarry. Later on, I read about it online and I thought I’ll never watch it (or anything by Miike ).
But if I started the class saying that I’ll refuse to watch the film or walk out if it is shown, I finally found myself in the Audition group of the class and went through it. Reasons were:
1) The other movie we could watch was Still Walking. It’s a great film but I watched it some times ago.
2) If it was not for the class I would never watch Audition out of my own free will.
3) I read the synopsis beforehand and watch some of the final scene before going in so I thought I would not be too disturbed after all.
4) Watching it with other people might prove to make the movie less scary.
Well it was disturbing. I kept expecting terrible things to happen because I read about them in the synopsis and imagined them way more terrifying or disgusting then what it really was. And sometimes I was also wrong in imagining things to be less scary things much more easy to watch.
But I also learn some things about watching this film.
1) I don’t really want to watch it again but if I have too, I’ll know where to blink and what to expect so it’ll be easier to watch.
2) As you cannot judge a book by its cover, you should not judge a movie because of its theme. Audition is not only showing gory scenes for the sake of it (or so I think). We had great conversation in class and online about different themes and characters and I was quite interested to hear what people had to say about it.
3) A whole bunch of people left the class during the last part. It’s written on the Wikipédia page that at a screening somewhere, someone even went up to Miike and told him “you’re evil!” Which is weird because the film is an adaptation of a book. So maybe the director’s ways of creating his own work emphasis some part of the books more than other (I’d like to read the book to compare) but the initial idea did not come directly from him. So is he the evil one?
4) At one point, a dog is shown dead. And somehow, a lot of people voiced their sadness about it. But then after, the main character got tortured…and reactions were different.
5) I liked writing about the film in the final exam.
6) During class, our prof ask us if we thought Audition was a great movie. I can’t decide on either because I had trouble watching it. Rethinking about it later, I think it explores interesting themes such as Society’s expectations of Women, abuse, re-mariage, men’s views on women etc… But it does it in such a way…
The director is rather skillful at installing atmospheres: firstly carefree, then a bit strange and finally completely scary, making you expect everything and everyone to become scary.
I’ve been listening to:
Blank Page (live in Paris vers)-The Smashing Pumpkins
Skalds and Shadows (Acoustic ver)-Blind Guardian