31 Favorites #13: Audition



After the death of his first wife, and under the urging of his son and close friend, a man named Shigeharu Aoyama looks for a new wife by setting up fake auditions for a completely fake movie. The process seems to yield no prospects, until Asami walks into the room. She's young, beautiful, and mysterious. But who is Asami, really? Unfortunately for him, Shigeharu is about to find out.

Takashi Miike is a twisted director, and almost no film from his oeuvre better demonstrates that than this 1999 feature. The film is notorious for its later scenes (with ummm...good reason), but the real brilliance of the movie lies in how Miike lulls the viewer into thinking Audition is an awkward romantic comedy. It's this first part of the film that makes the second portion such a punch to the gut.

The other reason Audition is so effective is that it plays with our twisted notions of Asian women as docile and subservient. Asami meets our expectations initially, but our assumptions are thrown violently back into our faces.

Three Things I Love About It:

  1. Miike subverts common portrayals of Asian women as subservient and docile.
  2. There's one scene that truly terrified me - I had to pause the video to catch my breath!
  3. Miike uses the lightheartedness of the beginning of the film to completely trip up viewers in the latter half of the film. You truly have no idea what's coming, and that's part of what makes this horror movie a true classic.