LOVE STRIKES! (closing night film)
Directed by Hitoshi One
Is this a fantasy, or a fling?
It happens sometimes. Or so the movies tell us. That even the most inept, socially dysfunctional of us will hit our moteki: that inexplicable period when no matter how badly we trip up or babble, we’re still irresistible to even the most inhumanly beautiful, all-too-perfect creatures on earth. So begins the motekiof Yukiyo (Mirai Moriyama), a 31-year-old virgin (or rather, “second virgin” as he neurotically reminds us) who used to tweet uncontrollably while holed-up alone in an apartment that looks like it barfed up the bargain bin at Tower Records, but now faces two (and maybe three and maybe four) gorgeous women who, for whatever reason, dig his quirks and crave his skinny, shivering body.
My brain isn’t equipped to process something like this!
There’s Miyuki (Masami Nagasawa), who shares Yukiyo’s love for indie bands and social media, and just happens to have a girl-next-door face and supermodel body. And hostess Ai, a plucky pro who seems down for anything. And soulful Motoko, who may not know Yukiyo’s favorite indie-rock bands, but knows that the road to any man’s heart is karaoke.
Songs are like drugs when you’re down.
They’re designed to brainwash you into confessing your love.
And so Yukiyo goes down the rabbit hole of sex and love, at least as filtered through his music critic, twitter-addict, self-deprecating mind. Not since High Fidelity and Almost Famous has a film so joyously captured the way infatuation is a spontaneous musical number in the streets, a lyric interpreted way out of context, a pop cultural conceit taken much too far. With its nervy Edgar Wright dazzle, LOVE STRIKES! is a romantic comedy for the neurotics, the romantics, and the new media junkies. It’s for the men who want to see the most insecure versions of themselves score, and for the women who think it’s cute when nerdy guys squirm. It’s a romantic comedy about the bad, anxious habits we think we’ve outgrown – but not really. LOVE STRIKES! is an auto-tune fantasy that reunites the lovers from Crying Out Loud in the Center of the World(SDAFF ‘05), and makes us want to believe this version of the universe is not only possible, but waiting for us. Take a bow, Yukiyo: you and your nervous voice-over and slinky dancing body make us who karaoke alone never feel solo.
Thank you Perfume, thank you dancers! I’m ready to face my moteki!!!
Cast: Mirai Moriyama, Masami Nagasawa, Kumiko Aso, Lily Franky