If you don’t know Perfect Blue, this great classic of Japanese animation, it’s time to correct this mistake… Directed by Satoshi Kon, great master of Japanese animation who died in 2010, this one hardly takes a wrinkle despite his approaching 25 years. So much so that it appears in early April in a Blu-ray collector’s edition in France, offering the opportunity to see (or review) this Japanese masterpiece.
Why this title and not another? Just because This film by the late Satoshi Kon is brought up to date, what am I saying, it is still very current at the time of #Metoo. Some would even say that it was a anticipatory film for its time, especially in Japan.
Released in 1997, Blue Perfect stars J-pop singer Mima, whose career of Idol begins to weigh on the conscience. She wants to radically change course to enter the world of cinema, considered much more “adult” in Japan. At first, Mima is in his own reality, that of fame, glitter and raging fans. Then, she embarks against her will in another reality, that of a film set. The ghosts of her past: “CHAM”, the name of her former J-pop group and individuals refusing her career change, will then pursue her. People who will be, in part, responsible for his misfortune.
This misfortune is that ofanother reality which is gradually imposed on her through a form of schizophrenia. Seeming to lose her mind little by little, she is overwhelmed – it seems – by her real life as his hallucinations gradually take over : the two realities intertwine forming a fertile ground for the imagination of the director as well as that of the spectator who, let’s face it, risks being quickly lost in the intrigue which swirls between the film of which she is an actress, his own reality and the spirit of Mima. Are you following that far? In summary, the character of Mima is trapped between two realities and it is on this line that the whole plot of the animated film is based. But Mima is not the only one to get lost between reality and fiction, the spectator becomes it too, and it is probably all the genius of Perfect Blue. And even until the last second of the movie, the doubt persists and everything we have just seen can be questioned from a new angle.
Without further ado, here are at least 6 reasons to enjoy and review “Perfect Blue”:
1. Satoshi Kon is the Stanley Kubrick of animation, just that!
This comparison with Stanley Kubrick is not at all there for the “spotlight” but simply to show us a component on which the whole work is based: Japanese “Hollywood” really exists and it is in “Perfect Blue” that we find the original elements. The animations, the genius of the staging, the expressions and psychology of the characters, the mastery of subjective reality,… It is not only an animated but a work… of animation, in spite of having been the first feature film of Satoshi Kon. Indeed, we very quickly forget that we are watching a cartoon so this work of genius is full of methods drawn more from the 7th Art than from the cartoon.
2. Awarded in several festivals
Between this work and our reality, the border is so thin. The author’s objective and mission, through his work, is to let the viewer believe that he has been transposed to another place in the world…. A great success for Perfect Blue which will win several awards around the world including the award for best animated feature film at the B-Movie Film Festival in the States, for the best animated film at FantAsia or even best animated film at the Fantasporto in Portugal.
And to clearly understand the author’s intentions and message in great detail, better watch the movie in its original version or, failing to master the Japanese language, savor it in subtitles. Like many great psychological movies, you have to wait for the last seconds of the film to understand! But understand what?
3. It deals with a very current problem on the Internet
And yes, in this film, we are still at the beginnings of the internet despite its meteoric development. If “Perfect Blue” is perfectly capable of “adapting” to today’s public, it is because it also deals with a very current issue. [ Attention SPOILER ] : the sickly harassment of certain idols and Identity theft on the Internet where all our private data is centralized. Already at the time, we could feel the direction that the world wide web was going to take, for better or for worse! Thus, one cannot help but be nostalgic while watching Perfect Blue and his old white monitors from our childhood. Which brings us to reason number 4.
4. An inspiration for today’s world of cinema
If the formula seems very solemn, it is a tribute to Japanese animation to recognize it: the singular approaches present in this film are often recycled in very recent Blockbuster. This feeling that the other reality is the real reality (Inception), the games of schizophrenia (Black Swan), the hallucinations, the paranoia, the misdeeds and dangers of the Internet, but also the occupations which the film deals with are recurring subjects. in popular works today. Just like Akira, in form as well as in substance, Perfect Blue, timeless, will seed the minds of a number of contemporary directors and producers.
5. The condition of Japanese women
Perfect Blue is clearly not a film to put in everyone’s hands. Many scenes are particularly trashy, violent and hyper-realistic, including a long and terrible rape scene in front of a pack of rabid fans. Overall, the film makes many references to the macho world that surrounds the universe of Japanese idols, often teenage and ingenuous. Here the heroine is portrayed as an object of enjoyment and pleasure in the service of a world of men.
Even today, many Japanese idols pose practically naked for the front pages of magazines that will be found in konbinis for all to see. It is not uncommon for scandals to break out, revealing the intimate relations between very young idols and their producers three times older than themselves… In half-heartedness, the director denounces this tragic reality which is struggling to make its revolution. 20 years later, we are still a long way from seeing a #Metoo in the archipelago. Whatever, things are definitely moving.
6. Pay homage to the author and the art of animation
Let’s end with the words of the late Mr. Kon. When told about the attention to detail the mangaka / director says: ” It’s not that I tried to have a sensational rendering but I wanted very fluid designs ” And for that ” It took a lot of work He added modestly. As a fan we can say it: we like to get lost in this masterful work. Finally, let us add that at the moment when schizophrenia is approached, there are at least two ways to watch the film. Consider it a bonus reason to (re) see it!
7. Blu-ray and DVD release
Want to discover or rediscover this masterpiece? On April 6, Kazé is releasing a Collector’s Steelbook edition including the Blu-ray and DVD version of Perfect Blue. A competition is also organized to make you win two copies via the Hanabi facebook page. Good to know, if you book in this same store this weekend, the shipping costs are free with the promo code Hanabi21. So without further ado, we wish you “Good viewing”!
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