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Air Doll

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Air Doll

(Kuki ningyo)
Sponsored by: SuperClub Vidéotron

Montreal Premiere

  • Japan 2009
  • 116 min
  • 35mm
  • Japanese with English subtitles
Official Selection, Un certain regard, Cannes Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2009
Official Selection, Prague International Film Festival 2009


Sci-Fi / FantasyRomanceDrama

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"Offbeat beauty Bae is perfectly cast... holding the screen in a tour de force of ingenuous wonderment" — Derek Elley, VARIETY

"A great achievement" — Tom Mes, MIDNIGHT EYE

"Kore-eda is at the top of his game... this may be my favorite movie of the year so far" — Teresa Nieman, TWITCH


Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Screenplay: Hirokazu Kore-eda, from Yoshiie Gouda
Cast: Bae Du-na, Arata, Itsuji Itao, Joe Odagiri, Masaya Takahashi
Producers: Toshiro Uratani, Hirokazu Kore-eda
Print Source: Fortissimo Films

Part of...

Camera Lucida   

Camera Lucida



Every night, Hideo leaves the restaurant at which he works, returning to the home he shares with the one balm for his daily boredom. Her name is Nozomi. She’s really quite a stunner and she’s always ready to lend an ear when her lover has problems to air. Hideo adores her deeply, consistently displaying his affection for her and showering her with little gifts. The couple’s idyllic existence al-ternates between long conversations and torrid bouts of sex. They’re in love and if Nozomi weren’t an inflatable doll, their relationship would be an ideal one.

One day, the unexpected occurs. When Hideo steps out of the apartment, Nozomi suddenly comes to life. Rather than await her companion’s return, she elects to explore the strange realm outside their residence. Fascinated by the wide, weird world she’s discovering, Nozomi wanders into a video store and finds not only a job offer but a pair of friendly employees ready to answer even her strangest questions. This introduction to real life allows Nozomi to become familiar with the reality around her. Not only is she becoming aware of all the little things that make life pleasant, she’s also exposed to things like loneliness and cruelty. Nozomi will have to learn how to survive in a society where one is often better to be on one’s guard—especially when you’re made of fragile plastic.

After creating the touching autobiographic drama STILL WALKING, Hirokazu Kore-eda revisits the fantastic, a genre he explored in his film AFTER LIFE, with AIR DOLL. The director of NOBODY KNOWS delivers a poetic meditation in which the use of magic realism allows him to illustrate the ills of modern society. Seeing the world through the childlike eyes of Nozomi, the audience shares her difficult treading between the marvelous and the miserable. It’s hard not to be moved by the many surprises in store for the living doll—one of which in particular, thanks to some impressive digital effects, will linger with you long after the credits roll. Despite its dramatic impact, AIR DOLL is threaded with humour and open-heartedness, offering an optimistic counterpoint to the film’s cynical tone. Moreover, one can’t help but fall for the charms of Korean actress Bae Du-na who, after turning heads in THE HOST, displays incredible charisma here, almost single-handedly carrying the film herself. Unique and poignant, AIR DOLL again confirms Kore-eda as a master of contemporary cinema.

—Simon Laperrière (translated by Rupert Bottenberg)

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