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Years after she related to him the story of her parents’ death in a fire, for which – rightly or wrongly – she feels responsible, Japanese psychiatrist Dr. Sanada meets his former patient Azusa once again. Back then, she lambasted him for being wrong for the job. Back then, he let slip that she isn’t actually crazy. Now she’s a prostitute living in precarious circumstances in Los Angeles and is accused of murder, with her memories once again moving inexorably towards a fire. Sanada assesses her in the presence of an investigator who appears not to understand Japanese. Is Azusa now mentally ill for real? Was she back then? And why does the description of her tormentors upset him so?
Kaori Momoi’s film, which is based on elements of a story by Fuminori Nakamura, cannot be reduced to just one single narrative. It is a performance: incomplete, one-sided, contradictory, with an actress directing herself in a ruthlessly self-deconstructive manner, an actress that forces us to listen, to watch, to doubt. Faced with her challenging fragmentary montage in which the soundtrack permanently contradicts the text, the only certainty here is uncertainty. (Christoph Terhechte)

Production: Katsu-do Co., Tokyo; Yoshimoto Creative Agency, Tokyo; Booster Projects, Tokyo
Screenplay: Miyuki Takahashi, Kaori Momoi, Daisuke Kamijo, based on the short story "Fire" by Fuminori Nakamura
Camera: Gints Berzins
Cast: Kaori Momoi, Yugo Saso, Ayako Fujitani, Chris Harrison
Format: DCP 1:2.39, Colour
Running time: 72 min
Languages: Japanese, English

Photo: © "Hee" Film Partners

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur