Directed by Takashi Miike
Prolific filmmaker Takashi Miike made his international breakthrough with this mischievous and beautifully controlled examination of spectatorship, generic expectation, and gender relationships. With its subtle hints that eventually lead to a nightmare world of sadism and torture Miike proves himself to be a filmmaker that audiences cannot trust. The slow burning narrative build up of the first half affords the male characters an opportunity to express their weaknesses and vulnerabilities. For widower Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) his emotional frailties centre on the persistence of his son in finding a replacement for the wife who perished several years before. Aoyama still loves his departed wife, but the idea of a sexual partner, and a housewife to keep everything in order is very attractive. Aoyama’s sexism is outmoded and old fashioned, but he is essentially an harmless individual. He doesn’t possess the same level of vitriol and spite his friends do at the rising number of women in the work place. Despite the dubious morality of holding a fake audition in order to find himself a suitable wife, Aoyama scarcely deserves the shocking punishment he suffers at the end of the film.