by Chris MaGee
I have to tell you, I'm green with jealousy, absolutely Martian green, of my friends who are in Cannes right now. It's not because of the parties, the chance to attend the film market, the stars, the comped food and drinks. I'm jealous because they get the first chance to see Hirokazu Kore-eda's new film "Kuuki Ningyou (Air Doll)" and rub shoulders with Kore-eda, and the film's stars Arata (top left), Bae Doo-na, (middle), and Itao Itsuji (far right). All of you know how I've been obsessing about this project, and all I can say in my defense is that I'm a huge Kore-eda fan. His 1998 film "After Life" is one of my top five favorite films of all time, so when I read Dan Fainaru's review of "Air Doll" over at Screen Daily my heart beat a bit faster when he said "'Air Doll' could work as a companion piece to Kore-eda’s earlier and more coherent 'Afterlife' - the first dealing with the essence of life from the perspective of death, this with the essence of life from the perspective of the living." When he also mentions "a touching performance by Korean actress Bae Doo-na in the lead part and superb, crystal-clear images provided by Hong Kong cameraman Mark Lee Ping-bing" I wished that I was in the south of France.
The official site for this year's Cannes Film Festival also feature a brief interview with Kore-eda about this, his very first manga adaptation. The director talks about how the scene in Yoshie Gouda's 20-page manga "The Pneumatic Figure of a Girl" in which Nozomi, the inflatable sex doll portrayed by Bae Doo-na, sheds a tear and deflates only to be blown back up by her human lover was heavy with sexual overtones. "I also felt it had huge cinematographic potential, the idea is that air from another person could be a metaphor for sexuality. It was important to me to be able to explore my favorite themes through the eyes of the air doll…"
I know that "Air Doll" will make it's way to North American shores sooner than later, but sooner can't come soon enough for me. Thanks to Variety Japan for the above red carpet photo.
UPDATE: Wildgrounds has got their hands on four clips from "Air Doll". Check them out here before they get yanked!