North american Premiere

  • Japan 2008
  • 107 min
  • 35mm
  • Japanese with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Official Selection, Pusan International Film Festival 2008

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Director: Norio Tsurata
Screenplay: Hiroshi Takahashi, from Kazuo Umezu
Cast: Yoshino Kimura, Noriko Nakagoshi, Mitsuki Tanimura, Kyusaku Shimada
Producers: Gen Satô
Distributor: Toei Company Ltd.

Screens with...



2008 | 6 min
German language, English subtitles


The children of celebrities can have a hell of a time adjusting to the world. For Kazusa (Yoshino Kimura) and Risa Monzen (Noriko Nakagoshi), daughters of golden-era movie star Aoi Monzen (also played by Kimura), their neurotic maladjustment is skyrocketed by the fact that they’re living under a secret family curse that sees all Monzen women turn into tortured, deformed beasts at the age of 29! For this reason, Aoi Monzen has been living in seclusion for many years. Fans and media—those who remember, anyway—are dying to catch a glimpse of her, but that will never happen. These days, Kazusa and Risa keep their mother locked away in a special part of their mansion, while coming to terms with the fact that their own time is limited. Kazusa has become a celebrity herself, and her own star is already beginning to fade. Time is running out in every sense. And then there is Orochi (Mitsuki Tanimura), a young girl with preternatural abilities who does not age...

Taking a Japanese horror side route to SUNSET BOULEVARD through the backstreets of MULHOLLAND DRIVE, OROCHI is a compelling supernatural drama from Norio Tsurata (RING 0), based on the cult graphic novel from Kazuo Umezu (AKANBO SHÔJO). It’s a bizarre and rather Lynchian film that flows with shifting identities, liquefied chronology, surprising bursts of the absurd and high-tension melodrama. As an added treat for lovers of world cinema, OROCHI delivers shadows of a glance into the golden era of Japan’s filmmaking industry, telling its tale in a world of jealousy and vanity, abusive managers and opportunistic outsiders. The performances are uniformly fantastic, the standout being SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO’s Kimura in her dual role as two generations of celebrities who rot from the inside before their outsides do likewise. Contrasting the opulence of wealth with the decomposition of skin, this is a film that is as much about human weakness as it is about the ephemeral nature of beauty. There is no greater fear for a movie star than age. All the money, fame and power in the world cannot stop time from chiselling away at their looks and vitality in equal measure with their pertinence and influence, more often than not demolishing their self-worth in the process. OROCHI captures that fear with potent imagination and dark, macabre wit. It’s a sad, beautiful and chilling piece of work that washes over the viewer like a waking dream.

—Mitch Davis

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