a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman


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KOTOKO, the new film by Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo), is a harrowing journey through a woman’s mind, tortured by paranoid delusions and mollified by self-mutilation – cutting, specifically. In Tsukamoto’s trademark low-budget style, he makes the very most of intense and loud sound design, brilliant editing and tension (and release) created through shaky hand-held camerawork. The main character, Kotoko, is played by Okinawan pop singer, Coco, who in real life is an anorexic cutter. The frisson of her playing what she essential is in reality on screen makes KOTOKO all the more an excruciating experience. One’s never sure if the onscreen cutting scenes are real. Tsukamoto, presents the whole thing as a relentless and continuing horror story with such a subjective eye as to cause a bit of madness in the viewer. There is a section of very dark humor, where Tsukamoto plays a mild mannered suitor who hopes to “cure” Kotoko by becoming her human punching bag – which mucks it up even more, considering Tsukamoto in real life is enamored of Coco.

Originally published in EL Magazine, April 2012.


Written by Nicholas Vroman

April 1, 2012 at 11:09 am

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