Shiki-Jitsu   2000   Japan Ritual
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Director:Hideaki Anno
Studio:Studio Kajino Company
Writer:Hideaki Anno, Ayako Fujitani
IMDb Rating:7.5 (400 votes)
Awards:1 win
Duration:128 min
Hideaki Anno  ...  (Director)
Hideaki Anno, Ayako Fujitani  ...  (Writer)
Shunji Iwai  ...  Director
Ayako Fujitani  ...  
Jun Murakami  ...  
Shinobu Ohtake  ...  
Suzuki Matsuo  ...  Man
Megumi Hayashibara  ...  Woman
Takashi Kako  ...  Composer
Yuichi Nagata  ...  Cinematographer
Comments: One thing is for sure, this film has some of the most gloriously thought out and constructed set designs ever. A lot of the film takes place in the young girl's "apartment" which is about the size of an average K-Mart. Each room is like a different department but it doesn't seem strange once you give in to the world Hideaki Anno has created. Anno comes from years working in Anime so his visual imagination works on a different level than most. Why not have the girl sleep in a bathtub in a big empty basement that's constantly and willfully flooded?

This is a beautiful film with lots of stunning photography. When the couple are outside they're usually hanging out on or near railroad tracks, creating all kinds of wonderful lines and framing. The cinematography may not be something that grabs you but the composition of shots will.

On the downside, the story is standard "crazy free-spirited girl captivates man" stuff with a little "here's what happens to victims of abuse (real or imagined)" thrown in. The dialog and philosophy get a little precious from time to time, neither of the two can really act, they're just supposed to be attractive cool people (they are) and Anno makes the best of their limitations. It's fairly easy to spot the scenes where the girl, Ayako Fujitani, (who wrote the original novella the film is based on, cowrote the screenplay, AND is Steven Seagal's daughter!) is left to her own devices to be charmingly a little off kilter versus the ones where she is supposed to act a scripted point of story or character development. I don't mean to dis her too hard because she is an interesting soul to spend a couple hours with. No doubt. Shunji Iwai (real life director of a number of highly rated Japanese disaffected youth films, most notably All About Lily Chou-Chou), who plays the guy, a film director , isn't given too much to do or say. He's just intrigued by the girl so he hangs around all intrigued and artistically stressed. He's less of an actor than Fujitani but equally as cool and worth spending a couple hours with. This is definitely an indie/arty bag of ennui, but it does do some interesting things and even goes all Dogma for a scene at the end.

Summary: A disillusioned filmmaker has an encounter with a young girl who has a ritual of repeating "Tomorrow is my birthday" everyday. He tries to communicate with her through his video camera

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