The medical student Hiroshi (wonderfully acted by Tadanobu Asano, at present the face of Japanese independent cinema) loses both his girlfriend Ryoko and his memory in an accident. Still far from recovered, he attends his anatomy lessons and the related section in which he has to dissect a real human body. Reluctantly or not, he throws himself with dedication into his studies. A new relationship even seems to be blossoming, but depression, his stubborn silence and the visit of a young female ghost get in the way. Hiroshi's memory gradually returns. When he realises that his former girlfriend is lying on his dissection table, he makes an unexpected decision. Vital is a dark and sober film, with a strikingly serious undertone. Not everyone likes looking at corpses being cut open, but this is not horror in the classic sense. Tsukamoto consciously turns away from the traditional horror genre. The primary aim of his protagonist's macabre quest is not gruesome effect. In the dead body, he is looking for answers to the questions of life. With his stunning Tetsuo films, Tsukamoto acquired eternal cult status. This film is less exuberant, less aggressive, but comprises just as much authentic feeling for the darker and more gruesome sides of body and spirit. One could call it an almost philosophical horror film. No sooner said than done. (GjZ)

Filmmaker
Tsukamoto Shinya
Premiere
-
Country
Japan
Year
2004
Medium
35mm
Length
83’
Language
Japanese
Producer
Kaiju Theatre, Tsukamoto Shinya
Sales
Gold View Co. Ltd.
Writer
Tsukamoto Shinya
Cinematography
Tsukamoto Shinya
Editor
Tsukamoto Shinya
Production Design
Tsukamoto Shinya
Music
Chu Ishikawa