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Japan, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Regional Focus)

Director: Shunji Iwai

"Shunji Iwai achieved international recognition with Love Letter (1995) and April Story (MIFF 1999), and with this quietly devastating, often hauntingly beautiful portrait of troubled youth, he has now proved himself one of Japan's leading talents and boldest voices. Visually, Iwai's film (which picked up the Special Jury Award at 2002 Shanghai Film Festival) is frequently mesmerising, setting its sordid events against gorgeous natural colours and golden sunlight. Classically composed shots are combined with handheld camera-work to create a genuinely kinetic mood reflective of the anxiety of puberty." - Screen International

In a small rural lapanese town, 14-year-old Yuichi finds hope in a pop star named Lily Chou Chou, managing a website, 'Liliphilia', devoted to her. After a school vacation, his best friend Hoshino beats up the school bully then takes his place. immediately starting to extort money from fellow students including Yuichi. Hoshino assigns Yuichi to safeguard the money generated from a female classmate, Shiori Tsuda, who is forced to sleep with older men for money. He also becomes implicated in the brutal rape of Yoko Kuno, a heavily teased girl on whom he has a crush.

Born in 1963 in Japan, Shunji Iwai began his career directing music videos and television dramas. Following his debut feature Love Letter (1995), other films include Picnic (1996), Swallowtail (1996) and April Story (MIFF 1999).

See also...


Japan, 1994
When Moemi has her braces removed the new­found dental liberation has unexpected side effects. Is it because husband Yukio seems less than delighted? is he too obsessed with his work to notice he… More »


Japan, 1998
Uzuki Nireno bids farewell to her family and relocates to Tokyo to attend University. As the film progresses at a gentle pace, it becomes evident that the long-haired boy at the local bookstore has m… More »


Japan, 2002
A compilation of outrageous, inventive short films from seven of Japan's hottest filmmakers. Wildly diverse in subject, genre, systems of photography and filmmaking technique, Jam Films explodes onto… More »

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