"What you see is not what I see." Synesthesia is a statistically rare sensorial disorder in which the stimulation of one sense invokes the response of another. A person with this condition can taste a sound, smell a colour and so on. It is impossible for anyone who does not have this affliction to understand what synesthetes experience, condemning sufferers to perpetual feelings of alienation. Shinsuke (Swallowtail Butterfly’s Eguchi Yosuke) has been dealing with synesthesia his entire life, but has adapted enough social survival skills to mostly hide his condition from those around him. He has long held a fascination with a notorious killer who christened himself Picasso (Ryuhei Matsuda). Picasso has become legendary among certain underground subcultures for releasing a hypnotic video game through which players can be lulled into a trance state. He has used the game to induce a string of murders and suicides, and has at times even made deaths available for download online at the exact moment they were occurring. What particularly fascinates Shinsuke is the unusual visual signature the killer has left on his crime scenes. Shinsuke sees the mark quite differently than others do. He is convinced that it is a message designed to contact synesthetes. Shinsuke and his roommate take in a teenage runaway named Mari (Aoi Miyazaki) who arrives with a history of foster parents - each having died under mysterious circumstances. Everyone’s senses are about to be distorted.
Fans of early Kiyoshi Kurosawa, take note. First-time director Toru Matsuura has made one of the strongest and most poetic existential crime dramas in recent years. Synethesia is a film that challenges its audience and isn’t afraid to take risks in its provocative explorations. It is an unusual, dream-like work, whose whisper-quiet tones create an almost otherworldly state of tranquility in the midst of continual, sometimes homicidal, disorder. Matsuura’s casting of Ryuhei Matsuda - a regular on the Fantasia screen of late, with unforgettable performances in Blue Spring, Otakus In Love, Izo and 9 Souls - as the film’s shattered cyber-killer is nothing short of brilliant. Aoi Miyazaki’s angelically melancholic performance is every bit as captivating. A mesmerizing and haunting discourse on loneliness, Synethesia marks the arrival of a fascinating new auteur. It will linger in your memory like the smell of purple, the taste of a rectangle or the colour of tears.
Hosted by director Toro Matsuura
Director: Toru Matsuura
Screenplay: Yuji Sakamoto
Cast: Yosuke Eguchi, Aoi Miyazaki, Masanobu Ando, Ryuhei Matsuda, Hijiri Kojima
Producers: Kenzo Horikoshi, Atsuko Ono
Distributor: Shochiku Films