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Kotoko (pop star Cocco in her first starring role) is a young mother struggling to raise her young son Daijiro. Her grip on reality is shaky at best. Through her narration we quickly learn she see s double of everyone, one good and one evil. The problem is she can t tell which one is real, and is constantly moving from apartment to apartment as she assaults neighbours she fears are out to harm her or her baby. Every moment of her life devolves in to paranoid induced state, where she worries what tragedy awaits her son. She cuts herself in an effort to remind her that she is real, and what she s experiencing is not a dream or delusion. The only time she feels at peace, when all her anxiety melts away and she feels whole, is when she sings. Soon Daijiro is taken from her, as authorities believe she is in fact abusing her child, and place him in the custody of her sister. At the same time, a famous author (played by Tsukamoto) who hears Kotoko s singing on a bus begins to stalk her, mesmerized by what he hears. He follows her around, desperate to strike up a relationship with her, no matter what the emotional or physical cost it may have on him or her.
Interview with Shinya Tsukamoto
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Top Customer Reviews
What Tsukamoto does so well is use visual techniques and the performance of Cocco to immerse you in her world. As a viewer you feel like you are inside her head rather than an observer and its a very scary place to be. Between the outbursts of screaming and crying, bloody self harm and fantasy there are moments of serenity and beauty such as when she sings and dances in the rain. There is also humour as when she repeatedly stabs men in the hands with forks. There is one scene of extreme violence against her son towards the end of the film which I found hard to stomach. The performance of Cocco is excellent and natural. She weaves her own experiences into the performance and Tsukamoto shows how well he can direct actors and evoke the emotions he wants from them. The themes of violence, alienation, fear and transformation from his previous films are all present.Read more ›
I was lucky enough to see the première of Kotoko at the Edinburgh film festival, and what I saw brought back such wonderful memories of Tsukamoto's early work, whilst stamping a new clarity of image, and hollowness of sound. The story is honestly a little too hard to nail down for a text review, but I will purely say that it involves a mother who suffers from double vision, and this ailment ultimately influences the rest of her life, in some cases tragically. She finds some respite, but ultimately the nature of this respite is possibly more dangerous than the affliction itself.
Don't expect love, hugs, and belly-rubs here, people. Expect a heady mix of dark and brutal imagery as well as ridiculous and light hearted set pieces. It is, put simply, a journey that I loved to take, and would recommend anyone else with a passing interest to do the same. Just please don't expect a Woody Allen movie.
For most of the film however, the viewer shares a very disturbing view of the world through the eyes of Kotoko, a mentally disturbed and self-harming woman, a mother who is probably paranoid-schizophrenic and consequently a danger to herself and her baby. She sees people as doubles, one of whom she considers a potential threat to the baby, but she isn't able to separate the reality from the threat, and this leads to some considerable problems with sociability. Eventually, much to the relief of the viewer, her baby is taken away from her, but this inevitably only leads to a rise in violence and self-harm against herself. For a brief while, a man (played by Tsukamoto himself) helps her out of her dark place, a writer who seems inured to the extreme violence Kotoko inflicts on both of them. And Kotoko wields a pretty mean fork. It seems fairly certain however that all this is not going to end well.
Kotoko is pretty gruelling stuff then, and it makes for a deeply uncomfortable 90 minutes viewing, but a lot of the reason why this is so horrific is because Tsukamoto makes it so disturbingly realistic. The technique is brilliant, achieving an immediacy through the use of hand-held digital cameras, with jumpy edits and a familiar unsettling use of lighting and sound.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Film freaked me out but the copy was in great condition. Tres Bien!Published 7 months ago by Olivia Pierre
Pretty good movie. Not really sure it lives up to the hype, I expected better. I'd recommend giving it more than one viewing to really grasp whats going on. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Evan
Very Powerful movie from Tsukamoto. Thirdwindow made a awesome release here with beautiful Video and Audio Quality possible for everyone. Read more
Interesting film. Beautifully filmed with a clear dynamic sound track. Disturbing rather than a gore-fest or horror. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Mike PP
This is a sad but distressing movie coco acting is brilliant.Published 22 months ago by harpal chauhan
One of the best films I've seen. I don't want to give anything away, I recommend just watching it. If you won't buy it, rent it at least - it's worth your time. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Harlan