Being in a group with Anna (carbsahoy) and looking at a similar medium of Horror films has been really helpful for my thoughts and ideas, but one thing had been bugging me all semester. That thing was the film Audition.
Lets rewind to our first week blogging, I had just seen the film Dark Water, and was ranting on about watching it while drunk in a dark basement, Anna meanwhile was watching and blogging about Audition. Reading through Anna’s blog post, I decided that this film would have to be part of my consumption for this course, whether it was good for my mental health or not. Her experience is summed up in this sentence ” I had the expectation that afterwards I would be scared of dark spaces for a while, I wasn’t scared of dark spaces though, I was confused, I was confused about what reality was as a whole and how I existed within it, and that was a wee bit more scarier”. I needed to see this film.
Weeks passed, and each week I opted to watch a different film, looking at Audition and then shying away. It had been built up so much, and I wasn’t sure I was ready for the feelings and experience this film promised.
This changed one night last week. I put Audition on to play, like I had many times before, but quickly got up and tucked myself into bed, far away from the mouse and keyboard, far away from the temptation to stop the film.
The beginning of the film I was tense, I didn’t know what to expect, I thought I would be thrust into a dark hole or horror and fear, but I was not. In fact the film seemed so mundane. about 20 minutes in I had settled down, and was following what seemed like a rather normal romantic drama movie. 30 minutes, still nothing, 40… 50… and then things started changing, not quite fearfully, but just odd. little things that didn’t make sense, side characters that seemed like they knew too much. Little hints, that maybe this isn’t going to turn out so well, for anyone. And then I understood, Anna’s post, I wasn’t sure what was going on, I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue, it was horrible. The film had spent so long building characters and making them likable, I wanted so much for them. But The film didn’t allow it.
Audition doesn’t make you scared of the dark, it doesn’t make you fear monsters or ghosts. It makes you fear people, ordinary likable people, people you think you know, people you want to know and love. It gives you a chill every time you meet someone new, every time you take a chance with a person. Audition breaks you down, and really makes you struggle with people, reality and your place and experience of it.
This film, similarly to Tetsuo, plays with the male female relationship in Japanese culture. Many of the characteristics expectant of a ‘good’ Japanese wife are discussed between the male characters and women are objectified and judged through an audition for a film role. The film capitalises on the difficulties professional people in Japan face when seeking love, and marriage especially later in life and culminates the fear surrounding forming new and meaningful relationships.
I’ve now seen Audition twice, and quite enjoy it, although the ending still makes me nervous and squeamish.