Andâ yua beddo
Director: Mari Asato
Writer: Mari Asato
Based on: Kei Ôishi’s novel
Cast: Kengo Kôra, Kanako Nishikawa, Ken’ichi Abe, Yûgo Mikawa, Ryôsuke Miyake
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2020
Content Note: stalking, domestic violence, abuse, rape
Mitsui (Kengo Kôra) leads a lonely life and seems to be generally entirely forgettable – most of the people around him barely remember having met him. There was only Chihiro (Kanako Nishikawa), long ago, who went on a date with him and actually seemed to care for him. Mitsui tracks her down and quickly becomes obsessed with her again. When watching her from afar isn’t enough for him anymore, he starts to hide in her apartment – and becomes a witness to the abusive relationship Chihiro has with her husband (Ken’ichi Abe).
Andâ yua beddo might as well be called The Incel Movie because it absolutely, perfectly fits with the narrative that incels like to tell themselves and the world. And if that wasn’t enough to steer clear of it, it’s also repetitive and simply exhausting.
Andâ yua beddo tells the story of a man with a difficult childhood who becomes so lonely because nobody every recalls who he is that he becomes obsessed with the one woman who showed him some kindness once. That is a very problematic take. It takes Mitsui’s self-explanations at face value, reaffirming them. Of course, he is screwed up, poor guy. Of course, he will do shitty things out of his pain.
At least the film acknowledges that stalking is pretty shitty (to say the least), but then it conveniently forgets that part to focus on Mitsui and the pain he experiences while Chihiro is abused because to help her would mean incriminating himself. In the end, he does so anyway and then he gets to remorsefully go to the police and confess, further vindicating himself. The film pretty much lets him off the hook for everything because he finally did something right.
This is all kinds of screwed up, especially considering that the film seems to mostly consist of Chihiro being beaten and raped in harrowing and explicit scenes. She remains a cypher otherwise, an object for Mitsui’s obsession. And I generally don’t want to watch two hours of a woman being abused, but I definitely do not want to watch it with a focus on the man who watches her abuse.
Speaking of two hours: the film has almost constant voice-overs, which is already annoying enough if you ask me, but what’s more – the voice-overs constantly repeat themselves, making it feel like the film blows up a 45 Minute story to last (almost) two hours. It was exhausting.
My last, and probably least, issue with the film (but it does show a lack of awareness of Mitsui as a character for me) was Kôra’s casting: if you want to tell the story of a guy who gets overlooked by everybody, don’t choose such a pretty man. Maybe it was an attempt to subvert Mitsui’s narration, but I doubt it. If it was, it failed spectacularly – as did the entire film.
Summarizing: fuck you, movie. Fuck you.