2014-08-22 01:02 KST  
Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
'Air Doll' Focuses On Negatives Of City Life
Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda (2009)
Howard Schumann (howard16)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2009-10-13 10:17 (KST)   
Howard Schumann rated "Air Doll" a B.  <Editor's Note>
Korean actress Bae Doo-na is superb in Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda's latest film Air Doll.

©2009 Hirokazu Koreeda

OMNI's New Approach to Citizen Journalism
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Technology Can Save Money, Planet
[Opinion] Iran Defends Peaceful 'Right'
Couchsurfing in Gaza
[DVD Review] 쁔he Butcher: Movie-Making is Butchery
[DVD] 'Blood Rain:' Pouring Red
'Air Doll' Focuses On Negatives Of City Life
'Mother:' A Must See
Unquenchable 'Thirst'
Shown at the Vancouver Film Festival, "Air Doll" is based on the Japanese manga "The Pneumatic Figure of a Girl" and tells the story of a life-size inflatable doll used as a sex object for a lonely waiter. The doll eventually finds a heart and becomes a real person.

The film is supported by the enchanting photography of Mark Lee Ping-bing who worked with Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wei in "In the Mood for Love", and poetic images abound. When the film opens, Hideo (Itao Itsuji), returns from work as a waiter and begins a conversation about his day and everything seems normal until we discover that he is talking to a doll propped up in bed that he calls Nozomi, (the name of his former girl friend). Though she is a mannequin, he tells her about his life, gives her a bath, dresses her, and has sex with her each night.

One morning, Nozomi (Bae Doo-na) wakes up and finds her heart and is transformed, at least as far as appearances are concerned, into an ordinary human being. Displaying the innocence of a child, Nozomi, dressed in a French chambermaid's uniform, goes out to explore the outside world and finds out what it means to be human (and how society treats women), picking up patterns of speech from neighbors, but comes home each night to resume her roll as the compliant inanimate doll for her master.

Nozomi soon lands a job in a video store and quickly learns about movies though she has never seen one and develops a friendship with the attendant Junichi (Arata), while continuing to believe that her only function is to provide sexual pleasure.

Promoting the idea that everyone is empty at their core and must be fulfilled by the companionship of others, Koreeda introduces a host of minor characters such as an old poet who feels betrayed by the world, the doll maker who created her, a woman fearful of being left alone, and a bitter old woman. Junichi abruptly learns about Nozomi's non-human status, however, when she falls and pricks her arm and all the air is drained out of her. In a very erotic scene, Junichi inflates her by blowing air into the plug in her stomach.

Nozomi discovers, however, that being half human and half doll is not fulfilling and wishes to become fully human but cannot find anyone to help her, turning to her maker (God?) for assistance.

"Air Doll" is a sweet, sad fable about the loss of innocence and Bae Doo-na is funny and touching in the role of a childlike doll in the tradition of Pinocchio. While it is valuable to view the world from a childlike perspective and discover once again, for example, how beautiful the stars are, having a mannequin eventually become a mirror of humanity's dark side serves little purpose. Yes, life is ugly and beautiful, sad and full of joy, but this is hardly a revelation.

The film, which took nine years from planning stages until completion, has important comments about alienation in the modern world, but at two hours the simple premise is stretched too thin. Koreeda makes the point repeatedly about the emptiness of humans, forgetting that cities are home not only to lonely, alienated, and empty people but to brilliant, fulfilled, and compassionate individuals who contribute much value to our world.
This article has not appeared in any other news medium but has been submitted to Cinescene (www.cinescene.com)
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Howard Schumann

Add to :  Add to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us |  Add to Digg this Digg  |  Add to reddit reddit |  Add to Y! MyWeb Y! MyWeb

Ronda Hauben
Netizens Question Cause of Cheonan Tragedy
Michael Werbowski
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Michael Solis
Arizona's Immigration Bill and Korea
Yehonathan Tommer
Assassination in Dubai
[ESL/EFL Podcast] Saying No
Seventeenth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev...
  [ESL/EFL] Talking About Change
  [ESL/ EFL Podcast] Personal Finances
  [ESL/EFL] Buying and Selling
How worried are you about the H1N1 influenza virus?
  Very worried
  Somewhat worried
  Not yet
  Not at all
    * Vote to see the result.   
  copyright 1999 - 2014 ohmynews all rights reserved. internews@ohmynews.com Tel:+82-2-733-5505,5595(ext.125) Fax:+82-2-733-5011,5077