Kushida Takeshi // 2020 // Japan // Romance / horror / comedy // 88 min //Pyramid Film
Cast: Hideki Nagai, Hitsuki Otaki, Toshiaki Inomata, Toki Koinuma
Language: Japanese // Subtitles: English
Photographer Kai (Hideki Nagai) runs a local photography studio. His business mostly revolves around touching up pre-existing portraits in Photoshop. One day, while on an excursion for a personal project, Kai meets the Internet model Kyoko (Itsuki Otaki). The two build an unusual relationship.
Woman of the Photographs tackles the subjects of beauty, intimacy, and the voyeuristic nature of film and photography – and wraps them in a coating of body horror. As the story progresses, Reality is sometimes hard to distinguish from the representations that the subconscious instills in the characters. Woman of the Photographs sets out to explore these themes and manages to problematize them compellingly. It manages to mix and mingle the ambiguity of intimacy and love with the cold yearning for fame, beauty, and unrealistic body standards. Furthermore, Director Kushida Takeshi does a brilliant job of expressing complex emotions using a low tempo dialogue, which further amplifies the strange and fantastic mood of the film. The unlikely, unsettling, and warm relationships that form in this film, and the way they are portrayed, is definitely reason enough to watch it.
Woman of the Photographs slices into the conundrum that is social media and the internet. The otherwise Japanese context is made relevant and equalized to a global setting using this tool. Ultimately, Woman of the Photographs is a film about representation in many forms. From our representation in a body of water to our representation on a photograph, and how we see and view ourselves through the eyes of others.
Text: Hjalmar Andersson