Japan, 1944. Trained for intelligence work, Hiroo Onoda, 22 years old, discovers a philosophy contrary to the official line: no suicide; stay alive whatever happens; the mission is more important than anything else. Sent to Lubang, a small island in the Philippines where the Americans are about to land, this role will be to wage a guerrilla war until the return of the Japanese troops. The Empire will surrender soon after; Onoda, 10,000 days later.
Dolls takes puppeteering as its overriding motif, which relates thematically to the action provided by the live characters. Chief among those tales is the story of Matsumoto and Sawako, a young couple whose relationship is about to be broken apart by the former’s parents, who have insisted their son take part in an arranged marriage to his boss’ daughter.
The most dangerous and exciting car race in the universe is held only once every five years. And that’s tonight. The competitors are lined up at the starting block. In his vehicle, JP, the most daredevil driver on the circuit, is ready for the green light. Female driver Sonoshee, with whom he is secretly in love, is also on the starting line. She will stop at nothing to get on to that podium. In this race, not only is anything possible, but also anything is allowed. In fact, their adversaries have modified their vehicles to equip them with highly destructive weapons; with such participants, it is hardly surprising that Redline is forbidden by the authorities, who will try anything to halt the proceedings. These speed addicts have to put themselves in mortal danger to achieve their aim: eternal glory for those who finally mount the podium.
Misaki Amemiya is an assistant inspector for the Metropolitan Police Department’s Community Safety Bureau who becomes ensnared in a trap while investigating a mysterious illegal video website called “Babylon”. Soon, she’s bound and tortured along with Shizuko and an oversexed housewife named Ruri.
High school student Mizushima receives Valentines Day chocolates from the new student, Monami. Little did she know that the chocolates contained traces of Monami’s vampire blood. He gets infected from eating them and Monami confesses that she wants to live with him forever as vampires. Meanwhile, Mizushima decides that he wants to fully become a vampire with Monami’s help. Keiko, Mizushima’s girl friend, sees the two on the school rooftop kissing and in a state of hysteria, attempts to throw Monami off the roof but falls off herself instead. Keiko dies but her father, Kenji Furano, the mad scientist, resurrects her as Franken girl. Thus begins a deadly combat between Franken Keiko and Vampire Monami in the name of love.
Ryûhei Sasaki (Teruyuki Kagawa) is keeping a secret from his wife, Megumi (Kyôko Koizumi), and his two teenage sons. Even though he leaves the house every day, he’s not really going to work. He’s going to an employment office. He recently lost his job due to outsourcing, but is determined to find another position, all while supporting an old friend who is also out of work. But when Megumi accidentally finds out Ryûhei’s secret and doesn’t tell him, her trust in him, and their marriage, suffers.
Mikio (Masato Sakai) is a married man and works hard for the company where he is employed. Then one day Mikio is diagnosed with depression. Mikio’s wife is Haruko (Aoi Miyazaki). They have been married for 5 years. Haruko draws comics for work, but they do not sell well. She mainly relied on Mikio for support. Meanwhile, Haruko did not notice any changes in her husband. She begins to blame herself for not noticing any signs. Mikio’s depression derived from his work. His company has been pressing him to quit the company. After Mikio quits his job his condition improves, but the dynamics of their relationship changes.
Since they were both five, Ryosuke has been stalked by Momoko – the ugliest girl in the village. Her love for Ryosuke is so boundless that she has her face surgically altered to suit his taste – but still he wants nothing to do with her. Ryosuke goes in for fleeting romance – for example, with the girlfriend of a gangster boss. But when he finds out about their affair, he has Ryosuke’s little finger hacked off. Magically, the finger falls into Momoko’s hands, and she uses it to clone Ryosuke, so she can finally have him (or almost him) for herself. And this is just the first five minutes of Lisa Takeba’s short-but-powerful feature debut. Just like in her previous short films, the director – who cut her teeth in the advertising world and as the writer of a video game – throws a lot of genres and techniques into the mix: from science fiction to gangster films, from hospital eroticism to animation. Hectic and absurd, but with its heart in the right place. © IFFR