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Audition and the subtle and devastating art of the film genre

Basara Pictures

By Meg ShieldsPublished August 6, 2021

Welcome to The Queue – your daily distraction of curated video content from all over the web. Today we’re watching a video essay on how Takashi Miike’s movie Audition manipulates its audience with genre conventions.

Seven years after the death of his wife, Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo ishibashi) is hassled by the same biting question: “when will you remarry?” His film producer friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) hatches the perfect plan before Tinder: set up a fake audition for young women to audition for the “role” of Aoyama’s new wife. During the casting call, Auoyama fell in love with Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina). Aoyama doesn’t care if the references on her resume are “missing” or that she seems to “leave a trail of severed body parts” in her wake. Rushing into a relationship never hurt anyone, right? Law?

It goes without saying that the reputation of the film Hearing does it. Within J-Horror, and even the horror genre more broadly, Hearing is known for pushing macabre boundaries and forcing even the toughest viewer to partially cover their eyes. Make no mistake, this reputation is well deserved.

Corn Hearing is a far cry from the outrageous scare party you might expect. As detailed in the video essay below, the director Takashi Miike amplifies the horrific impact of the film by dabbling in the cinematic language of decidedly un-horrible genres. Namely: melodrama and comedy. The result is a film as enigmatic and changing as Asami herself, resulting in a constant game of bad direction between Miike and the viewer.

Fair Warning: The following video essay does not include any harsh spoilers for Hearing. But he does discuss the light plot elements of the film and the general tonal changes. If you haven’t already, we recommend that you watch Miike’s movie first.

Watch “Audition – How to manipulate the audience”:

Who made this?

This video essay on gender expectations in Takashi Miike’s film Hearing is by You watched movies. UK based writer Olivier bagshaw produces the channel, creating video essays on an assortment of films, from cult films to classics in cinema history. You can subscribe to their YouTube channel here.

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Related subjects: horror, the queue

Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a main contributor to Film School Rejects. She currently directs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How’d They Do That? and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found shouting about John Boorman’s “Excalibur” on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She she).

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