All About Lily Chou-Chou
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.