Japanese Girls Never Die (" Azumi Haruko wa yukue fumei")

Quebec Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2016
  • 100 mins
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
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Official Selection: Tokyo International Film Festival 2017, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2017, TIFF Next Wave Festival 2017

"Daigo Matsui's inventive, anarchic, multi-stranded film critiques sexism in Japan..."- Jessica Kiang, VARIETY

"[High school girls] have long played [a central role] in Japanese popular culture... In everything from nail art... to unarmed assault, they display an energy, both creative and destructive, that puts their mostly spineless and aimless male contemporaries to shame." - Mark Schilling, JAPAN TIMES

Enthusiastic young schoolgirls fill a movie theater. The film they are preparing to see – and that we are about to watch with them – is undoubtedly dedicated to them. All will be introduced to Haruko Azumi (Yu Aoi), a young woman in her twenties, without a husband, “without a future,” woking a lowly job in a tiny office where her two bosses harass her throughout the day. Until one day, Haruko simply disappears. A big clue lies with the taggers, who are already scrawling graffiti in her honour through their small city. And then, what about this group of schoolgirls, who prowl the night and beat up all the men who have the misfortune to walk alone and cross their path? Could it all be related?

Daigo Matsui (SWEET POOLSIDE, WONDERFUL WORLD END and AFRO TANAKA) is a proven master at depicting an eccentric, disillusioned and iconic Japanese youth. He is a festival favourite and returns to us this year with the tasty morsel JAPANESE GIRLS NEVER DIE. Adapted from the novel "Haruko Azumi Is Missing" (2013) by Mariko Yamauchi, it is a kaleidoscopic, pop-art portrait of the female condition in Japan – expressed through intertwined narrative frames around the disappearance of Haruko. It’s a proudly experimental film with a fragmented structure aiming to pile on the perspectives. Above all, Matsui and Yamauchi tackle the patriarchal culture of their countries with a ferocity and remarkable candor, offering us on the one hand, a scathing image of their society, and on the other, a sincere celebration of all the resilient, immortal young women of Japan, faced with the inequalities that afflict them on a daily basis. One of the best Japanese films of 2016.

- translated by Rupert Bottenberg

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