Seven years on from the death of his wife and Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) decides it is time to re-marry. A friend suggests that he might seek out potential spouses by holding auditions for a non-existent video project, and this leads him to meet Asami Yamasaki (Eihi Shiina), a 24-year-old dancer who captivates him immediately. Aoyama begins seeing her on a regular basis, and thinks that she really might be the woman for him, but his friend Yoshikawa (Jun Kunimura) becomes suspicious, and after some investigation discovers the young woman is not at all who she claims to be.
Much of the controversy surrounding Takashi Miike's Audition
centres on the disturbing nature of the later part of the film--understandable when you consider the imprint these admittedly horrific images leave on the viewer--but fails to note the intricate social satire of the rest. This is a film that offers insight into the changing culture of Japan and the generation gap between young and old. Shigeharu Aoyama is looking for an obedient and virtuous woman to love and asks, "Where are all the good girls?"--a comment that seals his fate. A fake audition is organised to find Aoyama a wife. Asami Yamazaki is introduced as the virtuous woman he is looking for, dressing for the majority of the film in white and behaving with the courtesy of an angel, especially when juxtaposed against the brash stupidity of the other girls at the audition. Although his friend takes an immediate "chemical" dislike to her, Aoyama begins a love affair to end all love affairs. But as Asami's history unfolds we see her pain and torture and slowly understand that the tortured in this instance holds the power to become the torturer. Aoyama is slowly drawn away from his white, metallic and homely environment into the vivid- red and dirty-dark environment of Asami's sadistic world.
Audition can be viewed on a number of levels, with important feminist, social and human rights issues to be drawn from the story. However, the real power of this film is its descent into the subconscious, to a point where reality is blurred and the audience is unable to decide whether the disturbing images on screen are real or surreal. This refined, hard-hitting and essentially Japanese style of horror is ultimately much more powerful than anything offered by Hollywood. This is a film that will get under your skin and infect your consciousness with a blend of fearless gore and unimaginable torture. It is not for the faint-hearted. --Nikki Disney
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.