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Noriko’s Dinner Table (2005)
The family that eats together stays together.
Director: Sion Sono

A teenager named Noriko Shimabara runs away from her family in Toyokawa, to meet Kumiko, the leader of an Internet BBS, She becomes involved with Kumiko's family circle, which grows darker after the mass suicide of 54 high school girls.

Noriko’s Dinner Table (2005)

The Magical Inbetweens

Magical spaces in Hispanically influenced films are easy to locate. We as viewers find it easy to place ourselves there it seems natural. Only Medem challenges.

There are three similarly structured magical traditions in modern Japanese films, and I find them tantalising, sometimes difficult, visceral. This is squarely within one of these traditions, a small unsettling masterpiece. There seem to be many such, films that have not escaped the island. ‘All About Lily Chou-Cho‘ is my favorite, but this has a notable reverse fold.

A common fold is that of performance in life: we all are acting a role that we are drawn to. ‘Audition‘ is a great example of where life performance slakes the life that contains it. This construction goes there and then reverses itself.

Imagine a setup where two sisters end up working for a gang which hires out actors to play roles in families for pay. Pretty standard stuff for this tradition, and many of the ordinary girl-sex-angst-parent dynamics are acted out, some symbolically. But now imagine an overlain setup where they are unknowingly hired by their father to play themselves. There’s more. Imagine that the film is broken into a collection of first person narratives, each reporting what they discover, and one of these leverages the fact that the father is a reporter- detective (who discovers the gang and sets up the inverted acting gig).

The gang, incidentally, is from a previous movie that is not particularly relevant, except in that it occupies the same magical universe of lost girls.

Posted in 2011

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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