All About Lily Chou-Chou

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Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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Special Features

Digital transfer enhanced for 16:9 televisions; Making-of documentary; Director biography and filmography; Music video: Wings That Can't Fly; Theatrical trailers; Essay by director Shunji Iwai
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richie Unterberger
The adolescent coming-of-age film All About Lily Chou-Chou is audacious in its structure, but not wholly successful, even if it should get kudos for looking at universal youthful experiences with unsentimental honesty that's uncommon in the cinema. While the frequent takeovers of the movie screen by computer screens (of online chat among some of the characters) is bold and marks this as a work determined to use the vernacular of its era, it's also aggravatingly distracting. And make no mistake, it's not something that's just an occasional irritant -- it's in your face, inserted right into the heart of the action. More of a problem to the general audience, perhaps, is that the action isn't all that easy to follow and the characters not so easy to keep straight -- something that can't, for non-Japanese viewers, be put wholly down to the linguistic and cultural differences inherent to watching a Japanese movie. Weeding through the tangle, there are some effectively harsh mini-vignettes reflecting painful early teenage traumas that almost anyone throughout the globe can relate to: the bullying into virtually criminal behavior through peer pressure, the retreat into worship of musical idols as escape from mundane and sometimes unpleasant realities, the inability to wholly fit in at school or at home, and the cruel ways that kids can treat each other. If some of the scenarios are more extreme than many people grew up with -- such as the girl coerced into humiliating prostitution by fellow teenagers -- the tone of the anguish will ring true with everyone's adolescent trials. The detached, jumbled way in which it's presented, however, might dilute its impact more than the filmmaker intended.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/15/2005
  • UPC: 037429204122
  • Original Release: 2001
  • Rating:

  • Source: Homevision
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 2:26:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Hayato Ichihara Yuichi Hasumi
Shugo Oshinari Shusuke Hoshino
Ayumi Ito Yoko Kuno
Yu Aoi Shiori Tsuda
Takao Osawa Tahito Takao
Technical Credits
Shunji Iwai Director, Editor, Screenwriter
Naoki Hashimoto Producer
Takeshi Kobayashi Score Composer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Genesis [4:52]
2. Kids These Days [8:53]
3. Arabesque [5:51]
4. Stealing Is Stealing [5:25]
5. Yes, Sir [5:37]
6. The Beginning [5:47]
7. Hoshino's House [4:55]
8. Competition [7:29]
9. Hold-up [3:42]
10. Okinawa [7:32]
11. 7 Lives [9:26]
12. Regime Change [6:31]
13. Age of Gray [8:33]
14. Music Class [5:58]
15. New Arrangement [6:43]
16. Kunto's Price [5:08]
17. Emotion [6:32]
18. Breathe [3:32]
19. Flying [7:44]
20. Blue Cat [7:43]
21. Lost Soul [7:05]
22. Soiled Ether [2:29]
23. Guidance [4:20]
24. End Credits [4:04]
1. Welcome to the Ether [2:06]
2. Lilyholic BBS [6:13]
3. Script Bowl [6:07]
4. Piano Practice [3:02]
5. A Turning Point [6:12]
6. Directing Method [10:23]
7. Extras [5:58]
8. The Chorus [4:21]
9. Pupae [5:30]
10. Age 14 [5:12]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Movie
   Chapters
   Extras
      "Making-of" Documentary
         Play "Making-of" All About Lily Chou-Chou
         Chapters
      Director's Bio & Filmography
      Music Video: Wings That Can't Fly
      Trailers
   Subtitles
      English Subtitles: On
      English Subtitles: Off
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    bliss-out

    This film is simply a masterpiece of its genre in every conceivable way. It is supremely challenging (casual viewers be warned), deeply affecting, and rewarding. It is brilliantly shot and edited, lit, and designed on every level, not the least of which is *sound*. The film is highly non-linear in its structure and logic, it wanders in a totally natural way, and tells an almost narcotic story of a teen music otaku, his website, his abject school days, and of course his obsession with Lily Chou-Chou (an obscure underground music artist who could be likened to Bjork, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Portishead, late-period Blonde Redhead, classic early 4ad/Creation artists, etc). The film is loaded with random unease, dread, and confusion, but also notably extreme bliss (the kind that comes from the ecstasy of a musical obsession). This film perfectly captures the protracted everydayness of teen alienation and suburban claustrophobia, musical obsession/escape, online devotion, and also seemingly random stolen moments of bliss. What ties all of these things together is the enigma of Lily Chou-Chou. The film is so particular and distinct in how it is arranged and yet epic in its scope. It is a beautiful paradox. For anyone who is adventurous enough to give this film the multiple viewings it deserves to fully understand, appreciate, and enter its world, you will rightly be amazed by what Shunji Iwai has created here, something breathtaking and beautiful. Recommended for music fanatics, artists, designers, outsiders, rebels, and dreamers.

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