a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Torso / トルソー

with one comment

Longtime Koreeda cinematographer (Nobody Knows, After Life) Yutaka Yamazaki’s first directorial effort, Torso, plows some similar ground to Koreeda’s Air Doll, but to much different effect. Torso covers the relationship between 2 half-sisters. The older one, Hiroko (Makiko Watanabe) is an uptight, disengaged urban survivor, whose only relationship is with an inflatable male torso. Her secret life of bathing, frolicking and having sex with this headless, armless and legless prosthetic is rudely interrupted when her half-sister, Mina (Sakura Ando) – all extroverted enthusiasm and blabber – appears at her doorstep running from her abusive boyfriend, the one person, or rather body, that never physically appears in the film. The torso and continuing variations of objectified bodies – perfume bottles, pillows, a dress-making mannequin and a gravure idol – becomes the underlying leitmotif of this sensitively rendered portrait of how individuals come to terms with their issues and problems.  The “strange” sexuality of blow-up doll attraction is rendered somewhat positively. Watanabe and Ando are perfectly cast and directed with a strained chemistry that once binds and separates them.

Originally published in EL Magazine, July 2010


Written by Nicholas Vroman

July 1, 2010 at 1:11 am

One Response

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  1. Well here I am again. You seem to be one of a very few people on the Internets who’s seen most of the films I want to see. Makiko Watanabe and Sakura Ando in a quirky (I guess) indie film directed by Kore-eda cinematographer Yutaka Yamazaki … I don’t think I could ask for more. Except an English subtitled release. Damn, I must learn Japanese.

    Forgive me for being off topic here but may I ask if you’ve seen Hitoshi Yazaki’s latest film “Love and Treachery”? A search here didn’t bring anything up, but I never trust blog search engines. A review at Twitch, and a blurb at the Japan Society, dismiss the film without mentioning the director’s track record.


    July 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm

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