The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For more information on films playing in the Cinémathèque, please call 773-281-4114. To order advance tickets online, visit the TicketWeb website by clicking here.
Chicago Theatrical PremiereNew from Hirokazu Kore-eda!
Best Actress Japanese Academy Awards & Asian Film Awards
"A great achievement" -Midnight Eye
"So tenderly directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda that the urban fairytale about an inflatable sex doll come to life gradually unfurls as an achingly beautiful meditation on loneliness and longing in the city" -Hollywood Reporter
"It would be hard to imagine a better actress in the title role than Doo-na Bae... [she] manages the character's transition from lifeless doll to almost-human girl with a sureness and delicacy that is both funny and touching" -Japan Times
"[Air Doll] is lovely and expressive, and it's one of those films that can haunt viewers long after they've left the theater" -NPR
Recommended! "Poetry and beauty collide dreamily" -NewCity Chicago
"[Kore-eda] finds exquisite sadness everywhere from a birthday party to a curbside trash drop-off" -Chicago Reader
A parable about loneliness and alienation in present-day Tokyo, Hirokazu Kore-eda's Air Doll features the unlikeliest of heroines. Well-known for such contemplative films about human nature as After Life, Distance and Nobody Knows, Kore-eda returns with possibly his most surprising work to date, an anti–fairy tale about an inflatable doll that suddenly comes to life. Korean actress Bae Doo-na, whose roles in such films as Linda, Linda, Linda and The Host have made her a cult icon, stars as the eponymous sex doll, bought by a quiet loner for companionship. Emerging into life, she escapes his hermit's apartment and what she discovers, however, is a city of isolation, where both men and women have retreated into their own fantasies. Creating a parallel life away from the apartment, she takes a job in a video store and falls hopelessly in love with Junichi, the video store clerk, but a real-life turn of events make her question whether this new existence is actually feasible.
In Air Doll, Kore-eda has made a poetic meditation in which the use of magic realism allows him to deliver a melancholic and philosophical critique of contemporary social life: "Can people fulfill their own emptiness? What is the meaning of life? What is a human being?" Taiwanese cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bing (In the Mood for Love, Flowers of Shanghai) gives the pop-gloss of 21st-century life a particularly ethereal, floating-world allure, adding further power to this moving portrait of love, loneliness and companionship.
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 2009, 125 mins. In Japanese with English subtitles. An Official Selection for Un Certain Regard at the Cannes International Film Festival.