Shunji Iwai

  • Shunji Iwai – Pikunikku AKA Picnic (1996)

    Synopsis:
    The story follows 3 members of a mental asylum, Tsumiji, Coco and Satoru, as they escape from the asylum, and into the real world. On the way, they find a vicar, who changes their out-view on life, by giving them a bible. Tsumiji takes interest and starts believing in god, while Coco believes the world began when she was born. While they look around town, they must walk ontop of the fences and walls to avoid the floor. They read in the bible that the world will end on the 10th July, so they roam around town attempting to find the perfect place for a picnic with the best vantage point to view the final event.Read More »

  • Shunji Iwai – Suwarôteiru AKA Swallowtail Butterfly [+Extras] (1996)

    The struggles of a group of immigrant outcasts living in an alternative-future, xenophobic Japanese metropolis.

    After a young girl’s mother dies, she is cared for by Glico, a brassy hooker, who gives the girl the name “Ageha” (Butterfly). Ageha goes to work for a collection of oddballs who run a junkyard and salvage business.Read More »

  • Shunji Iwai – Hana to Arisu AKA Hana and Alice (2004)

    Synopsis:
    Upon entering high school, two best friends named Hana and Alice notice a boy a year older them while waiting for the train, and they both develop a pretty strong crush on him. One day while secretly following him home, Hana witnesses the boy walk right into a wall and pass out. When he wakes up, she lies and convinces him that he must have amnesia, because he doesn’t remember the fact that she was his girlfriend. After this, hilarity ensues as the two girls attempt to run with the lie. Of course, complications soon arise.Read More »

  • Shunji Iwai – Rabu reta AKA Love Letter AKA When I Close My Eyes [+commentary] (1995)

    Synopsis:
    Hiroko Watanabe’s fiancé Itsuki died two years earlier in a mountain climbing accident. While looking through his high school yearbook, Hiroko in a fit of grief decides to write a letter to him using his old school address. Surprisingly she receives a reply, not from the dead Itsuki, but from a woman with the same name whom had known Hiroko’s fiancé in school. A relationship develops between the two women as they continue to exchange letters and share memories of the dead Itsuki.Read More »

  • Shunji Iwai – Riri Shushu no subete AKA All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001)

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    Quote:
    Shunji Iwai’s Lily Chou-Chou offers eternal peace. She’s ethereal, the rebirth of death (indeed, she was born the moment Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon), and all-powerful, a voice for a pop-cyber culture that feeds on her Björkness. In All About Lily Chou-Chou, fans of the fictional singer use her “amniotic” music to detach themselves from the violence that consumes Japanese culture. Yuichi (Hayato Ichihara) is obsessed with Lily: He gets busted for shoplifting one of her CDs and engages in endless conversations on the website Liliphilia with fellow Lily-heads, “connecting” with the so-called ether that is Lily, just like he melds into colorful rice fields whenever he listens to Lily sing. While Yuichi is quiet and reserved, his online handle (“philia”) suggests a boy erupting with adult emotions, and though his friendship with “blue cat” is elusive it still feels within reach. Such is the dreaminess and possibility the film taps into.Read More »

  • Shunji Iwai – Vampire (2011)

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    Quote:
    Simon Wade is an average young man who goes about his profession as a teacher with the same kind of dedication that he exhibits when taking care of his ailing mother. But, under the seemingly obliging surface of nice-guy Simon there lurks an entirely different side. His unquenchable thirst for fresh blood forces the young teacher to trawl websites in search of suicidal young women, whose blood he can steal.Read More »

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