Sunday, June 22, 2008

All About Lily Chou-Chou (Riri Shushu no subete, リリイ・シュシュのすべて-2001)

All About Lily Chou Chou
Hayato Ichihara - Yûichi Hasumi
Shugo Oshinari - Shusuke Hoshino
Ayumi Ito - Yôko Kuno
Takao Osawa - Tabito Takao
Miwako Ichikawa - Shimabukuro
Izumi Inamori - Izumi Hoshino
Yu Aoi - Shiori Tsuda
Kazusa Matsuda - Sumika Kanzaki
Ryo Katsuji - Terawaki Shioske
Takako Baba - School girl
Yuki Ito - Kamino
Tomohiro Kaku - Yuichi's friend
Hideyuki Kasahara - Kyota Shimizu
Yoji Tanaka - Teacher
finding lily chou chou
All About Lily Chou-Chou follows two childhood friends, Shusuke Hoshino and Yuichi Hasumi, from the end of their junior high school run until the beginning of high school. The film has a discontinuous storyline, starting midway through the story, just after high school begins, then flashes back to junior high and summer vacation, and then skips back to the present.
In junior high, Hoshino was the best student in school, but was picked on by his classmates. He was skilled at kendo, and had a good-looking young mom. Yuichi, on the other hand, was a quieter boy who fell in love with the music of the odd musician Lily Chou-Chou. During a group trip to Okinawa, Hoshino had a traumatic near-death experience and his personality changed from good-natured to dangerous and manipulative. In high school, he takes his place as class bully and shows his newfound power by ruining the lives of his classmates. An alternative voice, that of the character Shiori Tsuda, attributes Hoshino's personality change to divorce and family ruin; this matches several scenes connecting the decline of Yuichi - who has had to change his name - to divorce.

Yuichi, the confused and shy former friend of Hoshino, finds himself sucked into his now-tormentor's gang. He is ridiculed and coerced into doing Hoshino's dirty work, and finds solace only in the ethereal music Lily Chou-Chou makes. Things become far worse for everyone when Yuichi is assigned to supervising Shiori Tsuda, whom Hoshino has blackmailed into enjo kōsai, and another girl is raped by Hoshino's lackeys after unwittingly offending the school's girl gang. The whole quagmire comes to a head when Yuichi heads to Tokyo to see a Lily Chou-Chou concert, and encounters the last person he thought would be there.

The story of Hoshino and Yuichi is paralleled by messages posted to a Lily Chou-Chou Internet message board. It is left up to the viewer to figure out which characters in the story are posting under what names.

Hmm? How do I describe this movie? Let's see. This movie was an artistic film. Very moving and visually stimulating. The cinematography was eye catching with the soulfull music that added depth to one perception of pain and suffering.

This movie in no way was what I thought it would turn out. No heroine, no hero. Antagonists galore. This movie didn't bring joy. It didn't bring tears. This movie in a way was like that of Hoshino nearly drowning. You feel yourself being sucked in the undertow and you can't seem to find a way to swim to shore. This is how I felt. The movie in everyway, to me, felt like this.

I didn't feel connected to Yuichi but to Hoshino. At first, at the beginning, you despise him for being the bully but in the end, well.......I felt saddened for him and by him. I felt his despair and for some reason just wanted to wrap my arms around him and say "It's okay."

There will be some who hate this movie and some who'll relate immediately to it. I don't know why but I felt both.

Oshinari Shugo
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