All About Lily Chou-Chou (Riri Shushu no subete) (2002)
Wildly popular filmmaker Shunji Iwai breaks a three-year hiatus following his less than successful April Story with this elliptical drama about teenaged alienation, violence, and celebrity. The film centers on Yuichi Hasumi (Hayato Ichihara), an eighth grader who lives in a sleepy town in rural Japan with his mother, her boyfriend, and the boyfriend's son. At school he is beaten up and harassed by his former friend Hoshino. In order to scrape up the cash to meet Hoshino's daily extortion demand, Yuichi resorts to petty theft and shoplifting. At home he finds sanctuary with his favorite singer Lily Chou-Chou, for whom he has devoted a website called "Liliphilia." One day, he encounters on the net a fellow Lily-phile who goes by the handle "blue cat." As Hoshino's power grows, he demands that Yuichi tail fellow classmate Shiori Tsuda (Yu Aoi), who he is pimping out to older men. Yuichi's suffocating situation at school leads him to consider suicide, something he confesses to "blue cat" -- his only confidant. Things come to a head tragically at a long awaited Lily Chou-Chou concert. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival. … More
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Critic Reviews for All About Lily Chou-Chou (Riri Shushu no subete)
For all of its insights into the dream world of teen life, and its electronic expression through cyber culture, the film gives no quarter to anyone seeking to pull a cohesive story out of its 2 1/2-hour running time.
This movie is maddening. It conveys a simple message in a visual style that is willfully overwrought.
Once you get into its rhythm ... the movie becomes a heady experience.
While the story's undeniably hard to follow, Iwai's gorgeous visuals seduce.
Bravura, ambitious and profoundly disturbing. It is also a daunting, demanding experience, one whose complex structure makes it a challenge to track despite literate subtitles.
It is remarkable not for its flamboyance but for its stark honesty, captivating visual flair, and a style of filmmaking that differs from anything on this side of the Pacific.
The gutsy film didn't help itself by making it so difficult to follow the story and by being so morose.
One thing is for sure: This movie does not tell you a whole lot about Lily Chou-Chou.
I'm not sure All About Lily Chou-Chou made sense in my head, but it made sense in my heart.
Confusion is one of my least favourite emotions, especially when I have to put up with 146 minutes of it.
A difficult, absorbing film that manages to convey more substance despite its repetitions and inconsistencies than do most films than are far more pointed and clear.
... captures the pain and desperation of adolescent powerlessness and humiliation with powerful intimacy...
At an indulgent two and a half hours, the film plays like a poetry reading that drags on too long.
While this has the making of melodrama, the filmmaker cuts against this natural grain, producing a work that's more interested in asking questions than in answering them.
Audience Reviews for All About Lily Chou-Chou (Riri Shushu no subete)
First off, All About Lily Chou-Chou looks beautiful. The way it switches from digital to 35mm is brilliant and adds a different element to the which is best argument. The direction, cinematography and editing are great, and the non-linear narrative works quite well even though I'm not always a fan. The music is also suitably haunting, an important thing to get right considering the subject matter and it took some time to get the 'I see you, you see me' song out of my head. It's only real problem, and unfortunately it's a big one, is that it drags on for far too long and, well, how do I put this, no one does teenage angst as unconvincingly as the Japanese. Harsh I know, but I just can't stand Japanese high-school dramas, I find them annoying and unrealistic. I still found it an enjoyable experience though, the visuals being the main attraction.
If watching other people's home movies, and chatlogs, about new age mumbo jumbo appeals to you, knock yourself out--but I was too bored to give this movie the kind of attention it demanded to follow its disjointed out-of-order scenes. 146 minutes was way too much for me on this one.More
Shunji Iwai's All About Lily Chou-Chou is one of those films that stands out on its own.The story is quite unique and so is the writing, but this film is not for everybody. It shows how music can be a place for people to seek sanctuary from their everyday lives. The story can be tough to get into and the run time is just under 2 and a half hours. The first hour and the last 30 minutes are the better parts, while the middle tends to drag.With that said, Shunji Iwai's directing makes this worth watching. For the most part, the camerawork is great. The cyber texting element that Iwai employs consistently throughout the picture is also a creative element worthy of note.Hayato Ichihara's character is a bit bland, but he works well with what he has. The rest of the supporting cast is also good. Shugo Oshinari, Aoi Yu, and Ayumi Ito stand out the most. Takao Osawa also shows up with a funny character.All About Lily Chou-Chou may only be the best film to some, but it is one of those movies that sticks with nearly every other viewer for a good amount of time. If only once, this is one to consider watching.More
all about teen angst and the need to make connections and sense of the world. good cinematography, strange narrative structure. it will frustrate alot of people but i liked it. debussy reinforced the impressionist tone. could've used some cutting thoMore
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