Hello, My Dolly Girlfriend ("Figure na Anata")
Kentaro (Tasuku Emoto) is really down on his luck. An unsuccessful book editor, he is chosen as the scapegoat for the shameful failure of the company to which he fully dedicated himself, day in day out, for years. He is therefore demoted to the lower echelon of office supply manger. He doesn’t want it? He can hit the road. Not finding any comfort with his girlfriend/colleague, who has chosen to ignore him so as to not tarnish her own reputation, an evening spent at the bottom of a bottle is more than welcome. Miserable and inebriated, Kentaro runs into a gang of hoodlums who don’t appreciate his drunken insolence and chase him down for a beating. Finding refuge in an abandoned building, he stumbles upon a stunningly beautiful, life-size doll (Kokone Sasaki) that looks deceptively real. Entranced by this mannequin, Kentaro loses track of time and is eventually surprised by his pursuers. It’s the end of the line for him... until the doll comes to life and serves these dumbstruck goons the thrashing of a lifetime. Is Kentaro’s luck finally turning around?
Takashi Ishii (GONIN, FREEZE ME, BLACK ANGEL) is back on the big screen after a three-year hiatus, adapting one of his own mangas with the fascinating HELLO, MY DOLLY GIRLFRIEND. Following in the footsteps of films dealing with similar ideas (LOVE OBJECT, or the more recent AIR DOLL, both featured at Fantasia), Ishii stands out with the idiosyncratic atmosphere that he explores from one project to another. A virtuoso at creating desolate settings with sad repercussion, Ishii constantly produces gripping, vividly-lit images to build a palpable ambience that promises perils aplenty. Long-time Ishii collaborator Goro Yasukawa’s tormenting score is perfectly supported by a minimalist sound treatment, both of which amplify the hypnotizing atmosphere of the urban world the filmmaker holds so dear. All these elements deftly work together to thrust us inside Kentaro’s world, in which a young man continues to dream of a day when financial woes and constant solitude become things of the past. His progression is anything but conventional... Eroticism, perversion and deviant poetry all hop on for the ride as this new opus partly slips into fantasy and hope, two rare elements in Ishii’s work. The result is an atypical erotic tale you can’t afford to miss.
— Patrick Lambert